"There aren't words to describe this horrific tragedy," said Santa Cruz Police Chief Kevin Vogel.
Elizabeth Butler of Torrance, a 10-year veteran of the Santa Cruz Police Department and a mother of two young sons, was one of two police detectives killed in the line of duty Tuesday.
"We don't know yet all that happened when they first came into contact with Jeremy Goulet," Santa Cruz County Sheriff Phil Wowak said. "What we do know is what was left in the aftermath and that these both detectives were killed at the doorstep of Goulet's home."
Butler and Sgt. Loran Butch Baker had approached 35-year-old Goulet's home to question him regarding a report that he had made inappropriate sexual advances toward a co-worker. Goulet opened fire on the officers, disarmed them and then made off in one of their vehicles before being killed.
"Apparently this guy came out here with a gun in each hand just shooting at the cops and them shooting at him," Santa Cruz resident Clifford Haggarty said.
Less than an hour later, Goulet was spotted blocks away and was killed in a shootout with police.
Goulet, a military police officer and Marine veteran, had a long history with police dating back more than a decade. His father said Goulet was a ticking time bomb who had contempt for police and the justice system, but he never thought his son would turn to such violence.
In May 2008, Goulet was convicted in Portland, Ore., of peeping on a 22-year-old woman who was showering in her condominium, and of carrying a concealed weapon, according to The Oregonian newspaper.
Goulet had been fired from his job at Kind Grind coffee shop on Saturday. A manager at the coffee shop said no one would speak to the media at this point.
KGO-TV and The Associated Press contributed to this report.