Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller, 38, was shot and killed June 6th responding to reports of a suspicious-looking van with guns and explosives inside.
Additionally, another Santa Cruz County Deputy and a California Highway Patrol Officer were injured by a man believed to be the owner of the van originally reported to 9-1-1. The second deputy was listed as being in critical condition. The injured deputy was struck by gunfire or shrapnel from an explosive and then struck by a vehicle. The CHP officer was shot in the hand.
Around 1:30 p.m. a caller reported a van parked off the road near Jamison Creek in Boulder Creek. The caller said there were guns and bomb-making materials inside the van. As deputies arrived, they witnessed the van leaving the area drive by a man later identified as Steven Carrillo. They followed the vehicle to a home on Waldeberg Road in Ben Lomond.
Hart said that when deputies went to investigate, they were “ambushed” with gunfire and multiple improvised explosive devices. It was during this time that Gutzwiller was shot. He was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Law enforcement chased Carrillo after receiving a report of a carjacking nearby. He was apprehended after he was shot. Police reported he was armed. Carrillo was treated and released from the hospital. He will be arrested for the murder of Gutzwiller and other felonies.
Sgt. Gutzwiller was a patrol supervisor and worked for the Sheriff’s Office since 2006. He was described as a courageous, intelligent, sensitive and a caring man.
Gutzwiller was a 14-year veteran of the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office and leaves behind a pregnant wife and a young child.