Community members lined the streets of Santa Cruz this morning to pay their respects as a procession for two fallen officers got under way. The procession for Santa Cruz police Sgt. Loran “Butch” Baker and Detective Elizabeth Butler began shortly before 9 a.m. on Third Street near the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. It traveled through Santa Cruz before heading north on state Highway 17, then taking highways 85 and 87 toward the HP Pavilion at 525 W. Santa Clara St. in San Jose, where a noon memorial will be held. Capitola resident Lyn Henry was one of the locals who headed to the boardwalk this morning to see the procession off. “I came today to show my complete support and admiration of the officers,” Henry said.
“They take care of us and protect us every day.” Praf Patel, who has lived in Santa Cruz for 20 years, said he believes the tragedy will bring community members together. “This is very sad for the city of Santa Cruz. You don’t expect something like this to happen,” Patel said. “Santa Cruz was already a tight-knit community and this makes us closer than before.” There will be rolling road closures as the procession passes, and motorists are advised to expect traffic delays. Baker and Butler were gunned down by suspect Jeremy Goulet on North Branciforte Avenue in Santa Cruz the afternoon of Feb. 26 while following up on a report of a misdemeanor sexual assault. Goulet, 35, was killed a short time later in a shootout with authorities. Gov. Jerry Brown is among those expected to attend today’s memorial.
This morning, last-minute preparations were under way inside the 20,000-seat HP Pavilion. The two officers’ flag-draped coffins were on the floor of the pavilion flanked by two Santa Cruz police patrol cars. Podiums and floral wreaths had been set up on a stage nearby, and a bagpipe ensemble was warming up. Overhead, a slide show flashed photos of the officers at various stages of their lives on a four-sided screen. There were photos of Butler, her boyfriend and her two young children. Earlier photos showed Butler as a girl and as a teenager, then pregnant and with a newborn. A few minutes later, while the song “Endless Love” played, a photo of what appeared to be Baker and his wife at their high school prom was shown, along with photos of Baker with his children at the beach, at birthday parties, and at a Giants game at AT&T Park.
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