SAN JOSE -- With thousands of uniformed and civilian mourners expected to attend a memorial service for the two slain Santa Cruz police officers, organizers have moved the event from a 4,000-capacity venue in Santa Cruz to the HP Pavilion near downtown San Jose, which can seat up to 20,000.
Santa Cruz Deputy Chief Steve Clark police announced the new location on Friday, saying the change was needed to accommodate the expected uniformed and civilian mourners for Sgt. Loran "Butch" Baker, 51, and Officer Elizabeth Butler, 38.
"Local options simply did not have enough room to hold all the love and support for these officers and would have forced the venues to be split in up to four different locations," he wrote in a statement. "We want to afford everyone the opportunity to honor these heroes and remember them together."
Clark acknowledged that it may be inconvenient for Santa Cruz residents, but "we and the families believe this change provides the best opportunity to properly honor our officers and their families."
In addition to law enforcement officers from across the nation, dignitaries, friends and fans are expected to attend the service, which will be held at noon Thursday.
A motorcade from Santa Cruz to the Pavilion is planned, and will include Santa Cruz law enforcement, fire and emergency responders. Police said more details on the services and motorcade will be released later.
The California Highway Patrol is consulting with Santa Cruz police on the services because that agency has seen 223 officers killed in the line of duty and has experience in coordinating motorcades, traffic and ceremonial details.
While each service is different, CHP Capt. John Arrabit said it will typically include honor guards, bag pipes, a 21-gun salute and possibly aircraft flying over in the missing man formation.
Baker and Butler were ambushed by Jeremy Peter Goulet when they went to his home to talk to about a sexual assault he had reportedly committed against a co-worker. They were gunned down on Goulet's porch, and he was slain in a gunbattle with authorities a short time later.
On Friday, investigators announced they are seeking a 28-year-old transient with whom Goulet was acquainted.
Terisa "Lamb" Johnson was "not involved with the murder in any way," Santa Cruz County sheriff's Sgt. Patrick Dimick said, but they want to talk to her about Goulet's "background and social history."
Also on Friday, a collection taken up for the families of Baker and Butler hit the $125,000 mark.
Donations from businesses and residents were collected in an effort spearheaded by PredPol, a Santa Cruz-based predictive policing company that is partnered with the Santa Cruz Police Department.
To donate to the Sgt. Butch Baker and detective Elizabeth Butler Scholarship Fund, go to www.cityofsantacruz.com. Donations may be made online via credit card or PayPal account.
The HP Pavilion is at 525 W. Santa Clara Street, San Jose. Directions can be found at www.hppavilion.com/directions/directions.asp.
Santa Cruz Sentinel reporters J.M. Brown and Stephen Baxter contributed to this report. Contact Eric Kurhi at 408-920-5852. Follow him at Twitter.com/erickurhi.