The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors has approved renaming a county park after a sheriff’s deputy who was slain in the line of duty in 2020.
Willowbrook County Park in the Aptos area is being renamed in honor of Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller, who died in a shooting on June 6, 2020. The board unanimously approved the renaming at its May 24 meeting.
Gutzwiller lived in the area and his family frequented the park, county officials said. The Santa Cruz County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association, the county parks department and the nonprofit County Park Friends have raised more than $250,000 for renovations to the park, with updates recently finished to its sports courts area.
Gutzwiller died after going to the Ben Lomond home of Steven Carrillo, who had allegedly fatally shot a Federal Protective Service officer in Oakland days earlier. Carrillo shot and killed Gutzwiller and injured a second deputy, then was arrested after fleeing.
Carrillo is linked to the “Boogaloo” movement that seeks to incite “a violent uprising against perceived government tyranny,” federal prosecutors said. He pleaded guilty earlier this year in federal court for the fatal shooting of the officer in Oakland.
Supervisor Zach Friend said of the park in Aptos that it “will provide a place for his family, friends and our broader community to come reflect and share in the beauty of this special place. It’s a park that held deep meaning to Damon and his family and now we are reimagining the park in a way that’s befitting of his honor.”
More details about the park renovations and fundraising efforts can be found online.