Steven Carrillo is an U.S. Air Force sergeant accused of murdering Protective Security Officer David Patrick Underwood, shooting a sheriff’s deputy to death, and wounding another security officer in a shooting spree in California. The federal complaint says evidence links Carrillo to the “Boogaloo” movement, which it describes as “a term used by extremists to reference a violent uprising or impending civil war in the United States.”
At the time of the murders, says the federal complaint, Carrillo was “an active-duty member of the United States Air Force with the rank of sergeant. He was assigned to Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California.”
The complaint called the shooting of Underwood and the other security officer a “premeditated attack at the federal courthouse in Oakland, California.” He’s also accused of later murdering a sheriff’s deputy, Damon Gutzwiller. Carrillo is facing the death penalty. He was already in custody and accused of murdering Gutziller when the federal charges came down.
In a news release, DOJ announced that Carrillo would face murder and attempted murder charges for the courthouse shooting. In addition, Robert Alvin Justus, Jr., the alleged driver of the car Carrillo fired from, was accused of aiding and abetting charges. Justus told authorities he met Carrillo on Facebook, and the two arranged to meet so Carrillo could “give Justus a ride to protests that were taking place in Oakland,” the complaint says. However, it’s alleged the men were using the Black Lives Matter protest as cover; they weren’t intending to participate in it.
Underwood and an Officer Mifkovic were working “in an official capacity for Triple Canopy Inc., which is contracted with the Federal Protective Service to provide security at the Federal Building and Federal Courthouse,” the complaint says, adding that the shooting occurred “at a small security guard outpost.” You can read more about Underwood’s life here.
“Liberty flourishes in the rule of law,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers in the release. “Indiscriminate targeting of law enforcement officers by those motivated by violent extremism of any stripe is contrary to our nation’s values and undermines the powerful message of peaceful protestors. The Department of Justice stands in support of all Americans exercising their First Amendment rights to peaceable assembly and speech but we stand firmly against anyone who seeks to hijack the protests with acts of violence and destruction.”
You can read the full government complaint against Carrillo here.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Carrillo, Who Was a Leader in a Military Security Team Called Phoenix Raven, Is Accused of Opening Fire on Security Officers Guarding a Courthouse
Carrillo was “a team leader for the Phoenix Raven, a highly trained security team that guards USAF aircraft in high-terrorist and high-crime areas overseas,” CNN reported, adding that he served “in Kuwait, Texas and Utah.”
According to authorities, Carrillo “allegedly opened fire on unsuspecting officers (Underwood and his partner) guarding courthouse at federal building as public demonstrations continued only blocks away.” He used an assault rifle that was later recovered, the complaint alleges.
The complaint alleges that, at approximately 9:27 p.m., on May 29, 2020, a white Ford Econoline-style van “parked directly across the street from the federal building in Oakland on Jefferson Street. The van was parked facing the guard post where Officer Underwood and his partner that evening stood guard to protect the building.”
According to the court documents, the van “was on the southeast corner in the spot closest to the intersection with an unobstructed view of the guard post. Shortly after the van parked, a man emerged from the driver’s seat and walked around the area conducting reconnaissance for approximately ten minutes.”
Then, at approximately 9:43 p.m., “the exterior lights of the van turned on and the van moved north on Jefferson Street toward the guard post. The passenger-side sliding door opened, and Carrillo allegedly fired multiple rounds from a firearm toward the guard post, killing Officer Underwood and injuring his partner.”
In 2018, Travis Air Force Base published a photo of Carrillo with this caption, “Steven Carrillo, 60th SFS defender and Raven apprentice spars with a Raven in a sparring suit Sept. 26, 2018, at Travis Air Force Base, Calif. Raven apprentices train prior to attending the Phoenix Raven curriculum at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey.” The headline on the story is “Quoth the Raven, ‘HOO-RAH.'”
The story explains, “The United States Air Force has an elite security unit that’s filled with individuals trained for a specific job: protecting aircraft and crews from enemy assaults while on the ground in austere and dangerous areas. This group of elites are not to be reckoned with and have the honorable title of Phoenix Ravens.” Apprentices went through serious training: “The two-week, 12-hour-a-day course at McGuire covers cross-cultural awareness, legal considerations, embassy operations, explosive ordnance awareness and more. While Raven apprentices are learning these techniques, they also are exposed to more than 70 use-of-force scenarios.”
2. Carrillo Is Accused of Writing Phrases in Blood Associated With the Boogaloo Movement
According to the complaint, authorities “located a ballistic vest. The vest had a patch on it…the symbols on the patch, including an igloo and a Hawaiian-style print, are associated with the ‘Boogaloo’ movement.” Here is that patch:
The Mercury News reported that, according to a friend, Carrillo’s “Facebook page was rife with memes related to the ideology.”
The Mercury News describes the Boogaloo movement as containing “self-described libertarian, tropical-shirt-wearing adherents” who “anticipate a second civil war.” It started in 2019 and is “decentralized,” the newspaper reports, adding that other violent incidents in Texas and Nevada were also tied to the movement. According to CBS San Francisco, the term derives “from a 1984 cult classic movie ‘Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo,’ a phrase which is used to signify parody when appended to a topic.”
The complaint further alleges that Carrillo “used his own blood to write various phrases on the hood of the Toyota Camry that he (later) carjacked. Based on my review of the photograph, I (the complaint writer) recognize the following words and phrases: ‘BOOG,’ ‘I became unreasonable,’ and ‘stop the duopoly.'” Here’s a photograph of that:
The complaint notes: ” . . . the Boogaloo movement is not a defined group, and I believe that, in general, followers of the Boogaloo ideology may identify as militia and share a narrative of inciting a violent uprising against perceived government tyranny.”
According to the complaint, before the shootings, Carrillo wrote on a Facebook group page: “It’s on our coast now, this needs to be nationwide. It’s a great opportunity to target the specialty soup bois. Keep that energy going.” This statement “was followed by two fire emojis and a link to a YouTube video showing a large crowd violently attacking two California Highway Patrol vehicles,” the complaint says, alleging that Justus responded, “Lets (sic) boogie.”
Another user wrote, “Starting tomorrow, Oakland be popping off. Maybe more.” The complaint alleges that “soup bois” may be a term that followers of the Boogaloo movement “use to refer to federal law enforcement agents; I know that federal law enforcement agencies are sometimes referred colloquially to as ‘alphabet soup’ agencies.”
Carrillo is also accused of writing, “If it kicks off? Its kicking off now and if its not kicking off in your hood then start it. Show them the targets” and “She was stabbing people. And no. Go to the riots and support our own cause. Show them the real targets. Use their anger to fuel our fire. Think outside the box. We have mobs of angry people to use to our advantage.”
3. Authorities Said Underwood Was Murdered ‘Because he Wore a Uniform’ & Allege Carrillo Came to Oakland ‘to Kill Cops’
In the news release, authorities did not mince words when it came to motive. They allege that Underwood was murdered solely because of his law enforcement status.
“Pat Underwood was murdered because he wore a uniform,” said U.S. Attorney David Anderson, “but he was much more than just the uniform he wore. Pat Underwood was a brother, a father, and a son. Many, many people will miss hearing the sound of his voice and laughter. Pat Underwood wore his uniform because it signified his authority to protect the courthouse where we are gathered here today. This courthouse exists to administer justice, to uphold the rule of law, and to protect the freedoms that we all cherish. In announcing today’s charges, we are reaffirming our determination to protect those who protect us.”
“These arrests are an important step for our community, the families of those who were killed in the line of duty, and our law enforcement partners, so that we may begin the healing process,” said FBI San Francisco Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett. “While we cannot bring Officer Pat Underwood and Sergeant Damon Gutzwiller back, we can hold those responsible for taking them from us accountable.”
Bennett told the Mercury News: “There is no evidence that these men had any intention to join the demonstration in Oakland. They came to Oakland to kill cops.”
4. Carrillo Was Caught After an Eight-Day Manhunt That Culminated in the Murder of a Sheriff’s Sergeant, Damon Gutzwiller
The shooting outside the courthouse “set off an eight-day manhunt that came to a crescendo after a witness reported an abandoned white Ford van in Ben Lomond, California,” authorities wrote.
Authorities located the van abandoned and with attempts to alter its appearance. They found Carrillo’s fingerprint on a can of white spray paint inside of it, the complaint alleges.
It further alleges:
The van reportedly contained what appeared to be ammunition, firearms, and bomb-making equipment and an effort apparently was made to alter the van’s appearance with spray paint and a wheel covering to disguise a missing hubcap. Nevertheless, evidence from the van, led deputies from the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office to Carrillo’s residence in Ben Lomond. There, Carrillo allegedly opened fire on the deputies when they arrived at his property, killing one deputy and injuring a second. During the attack there was also an explosion on the property.
The murdered deputy was a member of the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Department. According to the complaint, “Two members of law enforcement were shot, with one deputy subsequently dying from his injuries. An explosion also occurred on the property, injuring one of the officers who had already been shot.”
The complaints describe a “subsequent odyssey during which Carrillo was shot and fled the scene initially on foot, and then by carjacking a vehicle on a nearby highway,” the news release states. “The chase came to an end when, still bleeding from his hip, Carrillo was taken into custody.”
Authorities discovered a cache of weaponry at Carrillo’s residence, the news release states: “Additional evidence was recovered at Carrillo’s Ben Lomond residence included an AR-15-style short-barreled rifle fitted with a binary trigger that fired one round of 9mm ammunition at the pull of the trigger and another round at the release of the trigger. The rifle was fitted with a silencer that suppressed the sound of gunfire from the rifle.”
In addition, the complaint alleges, “Law enforcement recovered an AR-15-style rifle from the area where Carrillo was arrested.”
5. Carrillo’s Wife Committed Suicide Two Years Ago, His Attorney Says
Jeffrey Stotter, an attorney for Carrillo, told CNN: “There is more to Mr. Carrillo than the picture painted by law enforcement. He told CNN that Carrillo “was a loyal and good airman and has also suffered severe personal loss in the suicide of his wife two years ago. He’s the father of two children who have not only lost their mother, but now they’ve lost their father.”
Asked about the Boogaloo movement allegations, Stotter told the network, “What this suggests and highlights is a larger conversation that maybe needs to happen about the impact and influence of groups with extremists ideologies that seem to flourish on social media and on the internet as a whole.”
The complaint paints a different picture.
According to the complaint, Justus said Carrillo “expressed an interest multiple times in shooting a helicopter, police officers, and civilians, but that Justus talked him out of it. They eventually parked near the Guard Post. As Justus drove the white van away from the Guard Post, Carillo opened the passenger-side sliding door and began shooting.”
As they drove away, Carrillo said words to the effect of “did you see how they f*cking fell,” the complaint states, adding that Justus described Carrillo “being excited and thrilled after the shooting.”
READ NEXT: Remembering Officer Underwood.