OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Federal prosecutors filed murder and other charges against Travis Air Force Sgt. Steven Carrillo in the shooting death of Federal Protective Service officer Dave Underwood, who was killed in a hail of gunfire during a night of George Floyd unrest on May 29 while he stood watch over Oakland’s federal building.
Carrillo was already in custody in Santa Cruz County jail for the special enhancement murder of Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller and the attempted murder of several other deputies in an ambush on June 6th in the mountain community of Ben Lomond. The charges carry with them the possibility of death sentence.
The evidence linking the two crimes was a white 1992 Ford Cargo van. U.S. Attorney David Anderson said the same van was used in both crimes. An AR-15 rifle recovered at the Santa Cruz crime scene was used in both shootings. Federal officials described the AR-15 as a ‘ghost weapon’ — a gun self-built from parts and not purchased from a manufacturer.
An armored vest also discovered in a vehicle belonging to Carrillo contained a distinct patch and slogans scrolled in what is believed to be Carrillo’s blood on a vehicle carjacked during the Santa Cruz ambush linked the suspected gunman to the Boogaloo Movement — a right-wing extremist group that harbors a mistrust of law enforcement and government, and anticipates a second American Civil War, referred to as the “boogaloo.”
The term comes from a 1984 cult classic movie “Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo,” a phrase which is used to signify parody when appended to a topic. The boogaloo movement’s anticipation of a second civil war in the U.S. generated the phrase “Civil War 2: Electric Boogaloo.”
Federal investigators had released grainy photos of a white van on June 5th they say the gunman used in the slaying of Underwood and the wounding of a second security guard.
A 911 caller reported a suspicious white van with guns and explosives inside parked near Ben Lomond on June 6th. It was that report that brought Gutzwiller and deputy sheriff Alex Spencer, who was released from the hospital over the weekend, to Ben Lomond. They followed the van to a home on Waldeberg Road where they were attacked while walking up the driveway.
On Tuesday, Anderson announced the new federal charges against Carrillo along with Jack Bennett from the FBI, Pat Gorman from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Marshal Don O’Keefe, Marion Canton of the Federal Protective Service and interim Oakland Police Chief Susan Manheimer.
“Steven Carrillo is the alleged shooter who killed Pat Underwood and wounded his partner,” Anderson said.
Raw Video: Federal Authorities Update Fatal Shootings of Santa Cruz Co. Deputy, Oakland Federal Officer
Also arrested in connection with the federal courthouse shooting was Robert Alvin Justus Jr. of Millbrae, who allegedly was the driver of the white van. Justus turned himself in to the FBI last week and has come forward with information on the case.
Bennett said evidence developed in the case showed communication between Carrillo and others talking about using the George Floyd demonstration planned for Oakland that night as a cover to kill Underwood and wound his partner.
“We believe Carrillo and Justus chose this date because of the planned protest in Oakland,” Bennett said. “It provided them to target multiple law enforcement personnel and to avoid apprehension due to the large crowds attending the demonstrations. As described in detail in the complaint, we believe Justus drove the white van.”
“We believe that messages exchanged between Carrillo, Justus and others that day before the shooting in Oakland indicate a plan to travel to Oakland and attack federal enforcement officers. 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.”
Carrillo was a “Phoenix Raven Team Leader” at Travis Air Force Base having completed a rigorous two-week, 12-hour-a-day course at McGuire that “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,” the Air Force release said.
In the hours after the fatal Santa Cruz Mountain attack, FBI forensic teams were part of the investigation at the Ben Lomond crime scene, searching for evidence tying the two crimes together.
Santa Cruz Mountain Ambush
- Alleged Santa Cruz Deputy Ambush Suspect Steven Carrillo Charged With Murder
- Sheriff: Ben Lomond Resident Detained Santa Cruz Ambush Suspect After Life Or Death Backyard Struggle
- Alleged Santa Cruz Gunman Steven Carrillo Trained To Be Member Of Elite Air Force ‘Raven’ Security Unit
- Alleged Santa Cruz Mountain Gunman May Be Connected To Oakland Federal Officer Slaying
- Fallen Santa Cruz County Deputy Remembered as Model of Community Law Enforcement
The attacks were similar in the way the alleged gunman surprised law enforcement officers. Santa Cruz Sheriff Jim Hart called the firefight attack of gunfire and explosives on his deputies an ambush.
Oakland Federal Building Shooting:
- Security Officers Gunned Down At Oakland Federal Building; DHS Official Calls Gunman ‘An Assassin’
- Sister Of Federal Guard Killed In Oakland Tells Congress “He Did Not Deserve To Die”
- FBI Identifies Federal Officer Killed Near Oakland Friday-Night Protest
The morning after Underwood’s death, Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf called the shooting of the Oakland security guard a cowardly assassination.
The security hut at the Ronald Dellums Federal Building in Oakland was riddled with bullets, attesting to the ferocity of the shooting.