Updated 8:04 p.m.
Two Santa Cruz police officers were shot to death Tuesday afternoon and a suspect was also shot outside an apartment building on Doyle Street, just behind Whole Foods.
Elizabeth Butler and Loran "Butch" Baker were the two Santa Cruz Police Department veterans killed by gunfire on Tuesday afternoon.
"The department is mourning the most horrendous day in our history," said Police Chief Kevin Vogel. "We lost two officers."
Sheriff Phil Wowak's department is taking over the investigation so that the police department could deal with its tragic loss, he said.
A third person was pronounced dead a half hour later. Jeremy Goulet, 35, is believed to be the man who shot the two plain-clothes detectives who were investigating a case at his house. He shot at a team of officers from the Sheriff's Departmant and Santa Cruz Police, according to Sheriff Phil Wowak. They returned fire, killing him.
The coroner was called to the area late in the afternoon.
The first report of gunshot victims came in just before 3:30 p.m. Two people had reportedly been wounded at 818 N. Branciforte Ave., between Sunnyside Avenue and Water Street, according to emergency radio traffic. They were later revealed to be the two officers, who were shot outside the building.
The address associated with the first shooting is a single-family home across from Branciforte Small Schools Campus.
Ground ambulances were called for two wounded people. Medical helicopters were dispatched to Dominican Hospital fly victims to trauma centers for treatment. The extent of their injuries was not made public.
The second shooting was reported at 140 Doyle St., off North Branciforte. An ambulance was not needed to provide aid to that shooting victim, according to emergency radio traffic. There were conflicting reports about the status of that victim: KSBW said the person was grazed by gunfire and refused treatment. Stab Santa Cruz, a public safety website, reported via Facebook that the person was suspected in the first shooting and was pronounced dead at the scene.
The Santa Cruz Sentinel reported that Police Chief Kevin Vogel abruptly left a city council meeting to head to the emergency.
A neighborhood resident, who declined to give his name, said he was sitting in his house in the 800 block of North Branciforte Avenue when he heard gunfire across the street around 3:30 p.m. Police soon arrived, he said.
Awhile later, he heard a "multitude of gunfire" coming from the area of the Whole Foods Market parking lot nearby. He said police had told residents to stay inside and not to leave.
He said he saw two gurneys being rolled down his street.
As of 4:45 p.m., he said the street was filled with at least 25 marked police cars.
Children locked in the Branciforte Small Schools Campus during Tuesday's shooting were released about 7 p.m. to board busses waiting to reunite them with their families.
An employee at Darco Printing and Paper Store located at 130 Doyle St. said the second shooting happened a couple of doors down from the paper shop.
The employee, Megan, who declined to give her last name, said the business had received an automated call from Santa Cruz police at about 3:40 p.m. The message stated that a high-profile incident was occurring, and instructed the business to go on lockdown.
She and another employee locked the doors, and a while later heard a lot of gunfire coming from down the street.
"It was fairly close," she said.
Police have swarmed the neighborhood, she said.
"At one point there were approximately 20 officers all hiding behind a van with their guns drawn," Megan said.
She said a slew of law enforcement agencies have responded, including the sheriff's office and "every police department in the area, from Scotts Valley to Watsonville."
Shortly before 6:30 p.m., an hour after they were supposed to go home, she and the second employee remained on lockdown.
The Whole Foods was still on lockdown, and a pharmacy employee at an adjacent Rite Aid said that business was closed.
Police ordered a lockdown at Midtown Montessori at 818 N. Branciforte Ave. at 4 p.m., a preschool employee said.
The employee said all students are safe.
There are several schools in the block where the first shooting happened.
At the time of that shooting, some elementary school students were playing outside across the street from where officers were investigating, waiting for their parents to pick them up, a parent said.
They were quickly pulled back indoors after the gunfire broke out, said Mike Stout, a parent of two girls, ages 6 and 9, at one of the schools.
"I just feel nervous, why are they taking so long?" Stout said.
"What we're curious about is that they came here at 3:30 for an
investigation" just as school was letting out.
Three other schools were on lockdown, according to KSBW.
—Bay City News contributed to this report.