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Jon Weiand/Sentinel Santa Cruz Fire Department firefighter Clayton Ogden answers questions from a local news crew at Station 1 in Santa Cruz Saturday.

Firefighter Clayton Ogden ran for cover from three bursts of gunfire about 40 feet from the fire truck parked on Doyle Street when a female bystander tripped and fell to the ground.

Ogden stopped to help the woman who was taking out her trash, possibly saving her life.

It was just minutes after Santa Cruz police Sgt. Loran "Butch" Baker and detective Elizabeth Butler were gunned down by a 35-year-old man being investigated for sexual assault.

"I laid on top of her and told her to keep calm and stay down, don't move," Ogden, 43, said Saturday at the Center Street fire station. "It happened so fast. I'm still kinda stunned by it. It was the worst day I've ever had in 20 years."

Saturday was the first time the fire department allowed the individual firefighters to speak publicly about the Feb. 26 shooting that took the lives of Baker and Butler.

Ogden -- a former paramedic who has worked for the Santa Cruz Fire Department for 13 years -- was one of four firefighters caught in a hail of gunfire that erupted between alleged killer Jeremy Goulet and a team of law enforcement officers after Baker and Butler were shot and killed.

Authorities believe four of Goulet's bullets struck fire truck No. 3170 during the shootout. Goulet was later shot and killed by law enforcement.

Ogden was joined by fellow firefighters Ben Bynes, Ryan Baker and Capt. Jerry Freeman on the call to North Branciforte Avenue for what they initially believed was a domestic violence incident with one possible gunshot victim.


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After learning two police officers had been killed, firefighters moved their truck outside the crime scene a block away to Doyle Street while they awaited their next assignment, according to Battalion Chief Mike Venezio.

Roughly 20 minutes later, Goulet pulled into a driveway next to the firefighters on Doyle Street in an unmarked white Toyota Corolla, and though firefighters had no idea he was the suspect, they immediately noticed the man's odd behavior and alerted police.

Firefighters were busy ushering bystanders away from the scene and yelling at people in the Whole Foods parking lot to move when shots were fired between Goulet and law enforcement.

"The shooting immediately started," Ogden said. "Bullets were flying."

Freeman, a 28-year-veteran of the fire department, described being in the middle of the shootout between Goulet and officers as "the craziest thing I've ever seen in my life."Freeman said his department is trained for active shooter situations, but has never had to use the skills before.

"Being in a dangerous place like that is not our norm," he said. "Nothing ever really prepares you for that."Freeman praised Ogden for going above the call of duty by throwing himself on the woman.

Ogden, a resident of Merced, is married with three children, ages 19, 15 and 13.

"He's always been that guy," Freeman said of Ogden. "He was put on the planet to help people."

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