Santa Cruz, Ca., “Ruffled Up” Over Fatal Shootings of Cops, Other Violence


The killings of two Santa Cruz, Ca., police officers have some residents questioning whether something fundamental has changed in their tight-knit, beachfront town, a place that was never known for midafternoon shootouts, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. “I’m frustrated and very, very upset,” said Maria Boutell, 45, after she left flowers outside the Police Department for the two detectives killed Tuesday as they tried to talk to a sex-assault suspect. “The last few weeks, we had a lot of violent crime. This was the incident that tipped everything over.”

The shootings of Detective Sgt. Loran “Butch” Baker and Detective Elizabeth Butler came at the end of an already disturbing month for Santa Cruz. On Feb. 9, a martial-arts instructo was shot to death in a fight outside a popular bar. Two days later, a UC Santa Cruz student waiting for a bus was robbed and shot in the head. She survived, the bullet lodged in her skull. The three slayings were the same total as Santa Cruz saw in all of 2012. The year before, there was one homicide. The violence is at odds with the way many Santa Cruz residents like to see their city of 60,000 – as a small town where connections run deep. “This has never happened in the history of Santa Cruz,” Boutell said of the killings. “There has always been a laid-back attitude here, but everybody’s really ruffled up.”

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