SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — In this tolerant beach town where a mayor once hosted a medical marijuana giveaway and cars sport “Keep Santa Cruz Weird” bumper stickers, there is a growing concern among residents that their laidback city is being gripped by an escalating, violent-crime wave.
The rise of seemingly random attacks, including the killings of two police detectives on Tuesday, is bringing back memories for some residents of the early 1970s when Santa Cruz was dubbed “Murderville, USA,” after three mass-killers murdered 23 people.
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“This is crazy, because all of a sudden there are lots of random crimes, bizarre things happening,” said Deborah Elston, a co-founder of the advocacy group Santa Cruz Neighbors.
There’s no simple explanation for the rise, but public safety has become a top focus. It was the priority for the winners in local elections and the 157-year-old Santa Cruz Sentinel filled an entire page Thursday with readers’ letters calling the police shooting a wake-up call.
Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office officials said police detectives Sgt. Loran “Butch” Baker and Elizabeth Butler had been shouting with Jeremy Goulet through his closed front door for about 10 minutes, trying to get “his side of the story” about accusations of misdemeanor sexual assault, when he burst out of another door and surprised them. He opened fire with a .45-caliber handgun legally registered to him.
Read More at OfficialWire . By Martha Mendoza.