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Park renamed to honor fallen Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller

APTOS, Calif. (KION-TV)-- It was a somber day for the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office as they mourned the loss of one of their own on Monday. Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller was killed while on the job exactly two years ago today.

The ceremony was held at Willowbrook County Park which is now named in honor of Sgt. Gutzwiller. A park that he frequented with his family.

"I think this does help people heal, and eventually it will allow for them to have a place to come and sit down and let their children play and remember Damon," Santa Cruz County Sheriff Jim Hart said. "When somebody makes this kind of sacrifice, you don't want to forget that, and it's easy over time to forget what happens. I want Damon to be remembered for the person he was and for the police officer he was and really the man he was. He was a wonderful human being."

A moment of silence led by the sheriff was held and the unveiling of a new park sign in honor of Sgt. Gutzwiller was held.

"As long as I'm the sheriff I'm going to continue to have remembrances and memorials for him," said Hart.

Hart also added that Gutzwiller's death has been hard for his department and that about five deputies have left and stated his death as the reason for leaving. Hart added he considered not running for reelection but felt he needed to due to the difficulty in finding police officers these days.

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Calista Silva

Chief Photographer for KION News Channel 5/46 and Telemundo 23

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