Air Force sergeant accused of killing officers had symbols linked to "boogaloo" movement
Federal prosecutors said Tuesday that a U.S. Air Force sergeant is being charged with shooting an officer at a federal courthouse in Oakland, California, amid protests over the death of George Floyd. Steven Carrillo, who was taken into custody last week after allegedly shooting a Santa Cruz sheriff's deputy in an ambush, had an armored vest and slogans written in his own blood that linked him to the "boogaloo" extremist movement, according to the federal complaint unsealed Tuesday.
"To be clear, Carrillo elected to travel to Oakland to conduct this murder and take advantage of a time when this nation was mourning the killing of George Floyd," said FBI special agent in charge Jack Bennett. "There is no evidence that these men had any intention to join the demonstration in Oakland as some as the media have asked. They came to Oakland to kill cops."
Carrillo was charged with murder of federal protective officer David Patrick Underwood and attempted murder of Underwood's partner, who was wounded in the shooting. He also faces charges in state court with the murder of Santa Cruz county sheriff's deputy Sergeant Damon Gutzwiller and the attempted murder of several other deputies in the June 6 ambush.
Officials said a self-made AR-15-style assault weapon was recovered from the area where Carrillo was arrested. ATF special agent in charge Pat Gorman said the "ghost weapon" had a silencer at its barrel.
Also recovered at the scene was an armored vest with a patch depicting an image linked to the boogaloo movement, U.S. Attorney David L. Anderson said. Additionally, it appeared Carrillo had written a slogan in his own blood that is linked to the boogaloo movement, Anderson said.
The boogaloo movement is a far-right extremist movement that calls for a second Civil War. A recent report by the Network Contagion Research Institute, the independent nonprofit that studies misinformation, the coronavirus lockdowns have inflamed conspiracy groups such as boogaloo and QAnon with the themes of imminent civil war and revolt against police. NBC News first reported on Carrillo's alleged ties to the boogaloo movement.
Prosecutors also announced charges against Robert Alvin Justus, Jr., who they said drove Carrillo to the courthouse. Justus was charged with aiding and abetting murder and attempted murder. Anderson said Justus turned himself in and has come forward with information on the case.
According to the complaint, Justus allegedly drove Carrillo to the federal courthouse in Oakland on May 29 and then Justus surveyed the scene. At 9:43 p.m., surveillance footage captured gunfire coming from a sliding passenger door of a white van that then drove away. Underwood was killed and his partner was wounded in the shooting.
On June 6, a 911 caller reported a suspicious vehicle with guns and explosives in the town of Ben Lomond, in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Gutzwiller and deputy sheriff Alex Spencer responded and followed the van to a nearby home. Upon inspecting the van, officials said they were "ambushed" by gunfire and multiple improvised explosive devices.
Carrillo is being held in Monterey County jail without bail, according the The Associated Press. He is expected to enter a plea to the state charges on Wednesday.
According to CBS San Francisco, Carrillo was a "Phoenix Raven Team Leader" at nearby Travis Air Force Base. He completed a rigorous two-week, 12-hour-a-day course at Joint Base McGuire-Dix in Lakehurst, New Jersey, that "covers cross-cultural awareness, legal considerations, embassy operations, explosive ordnance awareness and more." In a 2018 press release, the Air Force published a photo of him undergoing the intense training program.
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