CALIFORNIA— On Saturday June 6, a Northern California sheriff’s deputy was killed and two other officers were shot. While the officers were searching for a suspect, they were ambushed with explosives and gunfire.
The investigation began when a suspicious van near Jamison Creek Road in Boulder Creek was reported to the Sheriff’s Office at around 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, according to the Sheriff’s Office. The caller stated that there were visible guns and bomb making materials in the van.
Deputies arrived on the scene and saw the van departing the area. They followed the van, locating it at a home in Ben Lomond, where they were ambushed with gunfire and explosives, according to Santa Cruz County Sheriff Jim Hart.
Hart said that Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller, 38, was shot and killed in Ben Lomond. Another deputy was either shot or struck by shrapnel and hit by a car. A third California Highway Patrol officer was shot in the hand.
The suspect is Steven Carrillo, 32. During his arrest, he was shot and was being treated at a hospital for his non-life-threatening injuries. Hart said Carrillo will be charged with first-degree murder.
The Sheriff’s Department and the FBI are still investigating the case. It is unknown if Carrillo acted alone.
Gutzwiller worked for the Sheriff’s Office since 2006. He was married with a young child and another baby on the way, Hart said.
Hart said, “In my 32 year career, this is the worst day that I have experienced. Today we lost one of our own, and he was a true hero.”
California Governor Gavin Newsom is honoring Gutzwiller by lowering the flags at the Capitol to half-staff.
“He will be remembered as a hero who devoted his life to protecting the community and as a loving husband and father,” Newsom said in a statement.
Officers from all over the area are honoring Gutzwiller as well. Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva tweeted, “It is with profound sadness that we join in mourning the passing of #SantaCruz Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the Line Of Duty. We @LASDHQ thank you for your service. Your family, friends & @SantaCruzSO1 are in our prayers.”