Two Santa Cruz police officers were shot to death Tuesday afternoon and a suspect was also shot in an apartment building on Doyle Street, just behind Whole Foods.
"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. Wowak said he couldn't release the names or genders of the officers who were mortally wounded pending notification of their families.
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.
Some media has reported those shooting victims may include at least one police officer. KSBW reported that a male and a female officer were shot.
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.
Investigators are searching for a white Honda or Toyota Corolla four-door seen leaving the scene of the Branciforte shooting, according to KSBW. There also was a person of interest associated with the case: Jeremy Goulet, 35. He is 155 pounds and 5 feet, 8 inches tall blond hair and blue eyes.
The police action put a Santa Cruz preschool is on lockdown, a school employee said. Midtown Montessori at 818 N. Branciforte Ave. was ordered to lockdown by police at 4 p.m. The employee said all students are safe.
Three other schools were on lockdown, according to KSBW.
—Bay City News contributed to this report.