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Ex-Air Force Sgt. Carrillo pleads guilty in 2020 slaying of Santa Cruz County deputy

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SANTA CRUZ COUNTY -- The Santa Cruz County District Attorney on Monday confirmed that alleged "Boogaloo Boys" movement follower Steven Carrillo entered a guilty plea in the slaying of Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller just over two years ago.

The plea in the murder of the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Deputy will result in a sentence of life without the possibility of parole. The former Air Force Sgt. Carrillo plead guilty to nine felony charges with enhancements, admitting in open court to the murder of Gutzwiller and attempted murder of four other law enforcement officers as well as one civilian. 

Steven Carrillo (Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office)

Carrillo also plead guilty to a variety of weapons and explosive charges in connection with the extreme violence that he committed in Ben Lomond on June 6 of 2020. Carillo admitted that acted violently to escape what he believed was apprehension by law enforcement for the murder of Federal Protective Officer Dave Patrick Underwood a week earlier in Oakland. 

Earlier this month, Carrillo was sentenced to 41 years in prison for the fatal 2020 shooting of Underwood.

Carrillo had changed his plea in the fatal shooting case to guilty earlier this year. He fatally shot Underwood in a drive-by under the cover of 2020 protests in Oakland against police brutality, according to court records.

The 34-year-old Carrillo changed his plea last February in the wake of federal prosecutors agreeing to not seek the death penalty in the case.

Carrillo further admitted in open court to being a member of the Grizzly Scouts, a militia group that followed the Boogaloo ideology. The Boogaloo movement revolved around the desire for a violent overthrow of the government and starting a second civil war and resulted in violent attacks on law enforcement across the country. 

The investigation of Carrillo's violent spree in Ben Lomond was led by the Santa Cruz County District Attorney with assistance from all of the county's law enforcement agencies including the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office, Watsonville Police Department, Santa Cruz Police Department, the California Highway Patrol, the FBI, and ATF as well as many other allied agencies across the state.  

"Our hearts go out to all Santa Cruz County law enforcement officers affected by the horrific events on June 6, 2020, in particular the Gutzwiller family," Rosell said in a press release. "Although nothing can bring Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller back, we hope that today can bring some measure of justice for everyone touched by this tragedy. The plea today, to life in prison without the possibility of parole, will ensure that the defendant will spend the rest of his life in prison where he belongs." 

Carrillo will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on August 26, 2022  

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