BEN LOMOND, Calif. (KRON) — 911 scanner traffic recorded the chaotic moment when Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s deputies were being ambushed in Ben Lomond by a gunman armed with pipe bombs and an AR-15 rifle. One deputy screams when another is struck by a vehicle. A third law enforcement officer, Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller, was fatally shot in the chest.
Sheriff Jim Hart said the mountainous area where deputies were ambushed caused problems for communications over the radio. The deputy heard on the scanner recording is using a firefighter’s radio to let dispatchers know that two deputies were down and the gunman was on the run. (Listen in the video player above.)
Paramedic: “(Can you) affirm scene is unsecured?”
Dispatcher: “I don’t know. It’s too hard to understand. There are rifles deployed, I’d say negative, scene not secured.”
Deputy using a Ben Lomond firefighter’s radio: “If you can hear me. Our vehicles are too close. (One deputy) has not made it out.” (Another deputy was) hit by shrapnel.”
Dispatcher: “I copy.”
Deputy: “– Screaming — ”
Deputy: “(A deputy) was just hit by the vehicle. A white sedan high rate of speed.”
Dispatcher: “All county units, (be on the lookout) for a white sedan, high rate of speed, just hit sheriff’s (deputy).”
Gutzwiller and his partner were investigating a suspicious white van Saturday afternoon because a 911 caller had reported that it had guns and bomb-making equipment inside, Hart said. The deputies were met by a rain of gunfire and bombs.
The suspect, Air Force Sgt. Steven Carrillo, “is an angry man,” Hart said. “His actions alone said a lot about him. He used to very heavy weapon to shoot our deputies. And threw incendiary devices. He was very intent on killing these police officers,” Hart said.
Carrillo, 32, of Ben Lomond, was also shot during the melee and survived. He is scheduled to make his first court appearance on Friday.