Santa Cruz police received a touching memorial this week for two officers who were gunned down Tuesday while they tried to interview a suspect, police said Saturday.
On Thursday, police discovered a Purple Heart medal pinned to a small teddy bear, according to Santa Cruz Deputy Chief Steve Clark.
An anonymous message explained the gift: "The teddy bear reflects the love of our community for the police and all the work they endure during their shifts, the red ribbon reflects the precious blood shed in the line of duty, Purple Heart is for the sacrifice above and beyond the call of duty," the message read.
"When one loses their life for the protection of others and the greater good," the message continued. "I know you will understand."
The medal was a tribute left in response to the murders on Tuesday of Santa Cruz Detective Sgt. Loran "Butch" Baker and Officer Elizabeth Butler. Baker, 51, and Butler, 38, were allegedly shot to death by a criminal suspect, Jeremy Goulet, 35, while trying to interview him about a misdemeanor sexual assault in Santa Cruz.
Goulet was later gunned down in a shootout with police. Clark said the heroism and courage represented by the medal were "deeply understood" by the members of the department. "The words escape us to adequately describe how honored we are that you would choose these officers to offer this gift," Clark said."We retrieved the medal and will store it safe for our officers' families."
A memorial for the fallen officers is scheduled for Thursday at the HP Pavilion in San Jose.
The ceremony is set to take place at noon at the pavilion, located at 525 W. Santa Clara St. in San Jose.
A motorcade procession, with vehicles from the Santa Cruz Police Department, the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office, Santa Cruz Fire Department and other local public safety departments, will precede the memorial, Clark said.
The line of vehicles, to stretch about 2 miles, with make its way from Santa Cruz to San Jose on state Highway 17 that morning, Clark said.