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Santa Cruz PD Deaths are First Ever, Eighth in County History

The tragic shootings in Santa Cruz on Tuesday are unprecedented for the police department.

Santa Cruz County does not have a long history of losing its law enforcement staff. 

But on Tuesday afternoon, the list of officers killed on duty grew by 33 percent, when two were tragically shot in the area behind Whole Foods in Santa Cruz. One suspect was also killed in the incident. .

Before the shooting on Tuesday, no police department in Santa Cruz County (including Watsonville, Capitola, Scotts Valley and Santa Cruz police departments) had ever lost an active officer, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. 

However, three members of the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office and three local California Highway Patrol officers have died while working. A former Santa Cruz CHP officer also died on duty for Modesto CHP in 2006. Tuesday's shooting increased the total historic death count from six to eight. It was the first day with multiple officer deaths since Sept. 5, 1925.

See the entire list of fallen local law enforcement officers below:

Richard H. Rountree, Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office
Died: Sept. 5, 1925
Cause of death: Gunfire while attempting to arrest a mentally ill man and serve him commitment papers. 

Howard V. Trafton, Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office
Died: Sept. 5, 1925
Cause of death: See Rountree above. 

A Donald Hoover, CHP
Died: Aug. 31, 1934
Cause of death: Vehicle collision while on his motorcycle responding to a call.

Michael A. Gray, Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office 
Died: Jan. 13, 1983
Cause of death: Gunfire, while attempting to question a suspicious person. 

John Pedro
Died: June 3, 2002
Cause of death: Vehicle collision with a tree while attempting to stop a vehicle. 

Michael Elvin Walker, CHP
Died: Dec. 31, 2005
Cause of death: Struck by a vehicle on Highway 17 while working an accident scene. 

Earl Harwood Scott, CHP
Died: Feb. 17, 2006
Cause of death: Gunfire after stopping a driver for speeding on Highway 99. He was working for Modesto CHP at the time, but had served with Santa Cruz CHP prior to joining the Modesto unit. 

Elizabeth Butler, Santa Cruz Police Department
Died: Feb. 26, 2013
Cause of death: Gunfire on North Branciforte Avenue.  

Butch Baker, Santa Cruz Police Department
Died: Feb. 26, 2013
Cause of death: Gunfire on North Branciforte Avenue. 

Just One Vote February 27, 2013 at 06:30 PM
Yesterday was another tragic reminder of the dangers our first responders face while protecting us. I give my gratitude to every officer I see with a smile, a wave and a silent prayer for their safety.
Larry Dunham February 27, 2013 at 09:23 PM
I was informed by my mom and (Ret. SCPD) Dan Fite that SCPD Officer Tom Graham was shot and killed on duty downtown in the 40s. His brother Bill was a family friend, and 1st Mayor of Scott's Valley. (Graham Hill/Cement Co. family)
Jacob Bourne February 28, 2013 at 06:06 AM
Interesting. The only Thomas Graham in the national registry was an officer who died in Indianapolis in 1965. I'll look into it. Thanks for the heads up.
Amanda Graham June 28, 2014 at 07:27 PM
I'm Tom Graham's granddaughter (his full name was John Thomas Graham). He survived the shootout in March of 1948 (won an American Legion Merit aware for it), but died of polio that December at the age of 24.

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