One sheriff’s office deputy was shot dead and another wounded during an ambush with gunfire and explosives in Santa Cruz in Northern California.
Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller, 38, was transported to a hospital where he was pronounced dead Saturday afternoon, the department posted on Facebook. Sheriff Jim Hart hopes a second unnamed deputy hospitalized is “going to be OK” after being shot or struck by shrapnel and struck by a car as the suspect fled the area.
Steven Carrillo, a resident of Ben Lomond, about 35 miles south of San Jose — where the incident occurred — was apprehended and will face murder charges and additional felony counts. Carrillo was treated at a hospital after being shot. B
Around 1:30 p.m. Saturday, the sheriff’s office received a report of a suspicious van. Guns and bomb making materials were visible inside the van, according to the sheriff’s office.
Upon arrival, deputies When noticed the van was seen leaving the area. They followed it to a home in Ben Lomond home. Deputies were ambushed with gunfire and improvised explosives.
Shortly afterward, authorities received calls of a carjacking nearby.
Carrillo fled from responding California Highway Patrol officers, and he attempted to carjack another vehicle, according to Hart.
Officers from multiple departments located and apprehended Carrillo.
Gutzwiller, who was a patrol supervisor and worked for the sheriff’s office since 2006, was married with a young child and another child on the way, according to Hart.
“In my 32 year career this is the worst day that I have experienced,” Hart said at a news conference. “Today we lost one of our own, and he was a true hero.”
The last deputy killed in the line of duty was Michael Gray was shot after he stopped a suspicious-looking hitchhiker across from Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park on Jan. 3, 1983.
“I ask that the community be patient as we go through this investigation and the grieving process,” Hart said. “Damon will be deeply missed. By this community, by his family, and by all his coworkers here at the sheriff’s office. He was a beloved figure here at the sheriff’s office. His legacy will live on in the work and service that we provide to the Santa Cruz County community.”
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