SANTA CRUZ, Calif. -- A soldier discreetly drops off one of his highest honors to remember two officers ambushed on the job. Central Coast News was the only local news station to capture the moment.
The Santa Cruz Police Department gives an emotional response after someone dropped off a Purple Heart medal at a memorial to honor Sgt. Butch Baker and Detective Elizabeth Butler who were killed Tuesday.
The soldier quickly dropped off the medal and a teddy bear but didn't explain why he left it until now.
The department received an anonymous letter that stated: "The teddy bear reflects the love of our community for the police and all the work they endure during their shifts. The red ribbon reflects the precious blood shed in the line of duty. The Purple Heart is for the sacrifice above and beyond the call of duty."
Deputy Chief Steve Clark responds to the gift. "You've honored us beyond words and thank you. Thank you for your service. Thank you for what you sacrificed to earn this and words just could never express to you how you've moved us deeply," he said.
Throughout the day Sunday, members of the community continued to come in crowds to the memorial outside of the police station.
They left cards, poems they wrote and more flowers. But, still, in the midst of all the gifts given the biggest one of all remained the Purple Heart.
"This one is extra special because we know the costs paid to earn it and we know what it means for a military person that's earned this award to take and give this as a gift," said Deputy Chief Clark.
About a quarter of the Santa Cruz Police force are military.
The soldier who left the medal wants to remain anonymous.
The memorial for the officers will take place at 12 p.m. at the HP Pavilion in San Jose on Thursday.
The venue is located at 525 West Santa Clara Street.
Central Coast News will air the memorial service live.
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