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.

A sign marks the entrance to Willowbrook County Park in Aptos. The park is being redesigned and renamed in honor of fallen Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller. (Photo courtesy of Santa Cruz County Parks)

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.

Dan McMenamin is the managing editor at Bay City News, directing daily news coverage of the 12-county greater Bay Area. He has worked for BCN since 2008 and has been managing editor since 2014 after previously serving as BCN’s San Francisco bureau reporter. A UC Davis graduate, he came to BCN after working for a newspaper and nonprofit in the Davis area. He handles staffing, including coaching of our interns, day-to-day coverage decisions and management of the newswire.