Vigil held for fallen deputy killed in Santa Cruz County ambush

Bay Area

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) — Hundreds of community members gathered at the Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Office Sunday afternoon to attend for the sergeant who was shot and killed on Saturday while responding to a call.

38-year-old Damon Gutzwiller leaves behind a child and a wife who’s pregnant with their second child.

You could tell the impact Damon had on this community just by the huge turnout Sunday. Hundreds packed the parking lot and there was a growing memorial remembering the fallen officer.

Family, friends and loved ones remembering 38-year-old Damon Gutzwiller, the Santa Cruz deputy who was shot and killed while responding to a call in Ben Lomond — an unincorporated area of Santa Cruz.

A vigil took over the sheriff’s office on Sunday, where community members paid their respects, brought flowers and shared tears.

Sheriff Jim Hart described Gutzwiller as a role model within the department.

“Damon is the picture of community policing,” Hart said. “He’s kind, caring, patient, empathetic.”

Deputies say Gutzwiller, along with two other law enforcement officers who were injured, were ambushed with gunfire while pursuing the suspect — 32-year-old Steven Carillo on Saturday.

One of Gutzwiller’s previous partners, Steve Ryan, describes Damon as the best partner an officer could ask for.

“Better than most of us. He was incredibly patient, gentle in a way that is rare in this world,” Ryan said. “But with the rocksteady confidence of someone who knows what the hell they’re doing in almost every situation they find themselves in.”

Gutzwiller leaves behind a child and wife who’s pregnant with their second child.

The sheriff’s office says they will be holding another press conference tomorrow with more details, however the time of that briefing has not yet been released.

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