SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – Four Northern California men, including three from the Bay Area, are facing federal charges connected to the deaths of two officers.
According to federal authorities, the men facing charges are part of a far right-extremist group and they destroyed evidence in both shootings.
These attacks happened in late May and early June last year.
The first was a drive-by shooting in Oakland and the second involved Santa Cruz County deputies.
The shootings were allegedly carried out by a man named Steven Carrillo and federal authorities say these four people charged Friday knew what Carrillo was doing and tried to cover it up.
The U.S. Department of Justice charges four people with destroying evidence related to the killing of a federal protective service officer in Oakland.
On May 29th of last year, David Patrick Underwood was killed in a drive-by shooting in front of the federal courthouse.
A week later, Sergeant Damon Gutzwiller with the Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Office was ambushed and killed.
It’s alleged both attacks were carried out by a member of a far-right militia group following the boogaloo movement and others within that group knew what was going down.
“I think it’s important to understand that this newly unsealed indictment gives us a view into a boogaloo terror cell,” Devin Burghart said.
Devin Burghart with the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights monitors far-right extremist behavior.
He says this indictment shows accused gunman Steven Carrillo did not act alone in planning and killing either officer.
“Steven Carrillo was provided the ideological ammunition to go out and commit these horrific acts by this larger group,” Burghart said.
The indictment alleges the group was called the Grizzly Scouts and they communicated with each other and Carrillo at the time of last summer’s killings.
They first met on Facebook and then continued discussions about violence against law enforcement on WhatsApp.
Federal authorities say the four men later deleted those conversations.
The charged include three men from the Bay Area:
- 33-year-old Robert Jesus Blancas
- 23-year-old Simon Sage Ybarra of Los Gatos
- 21-year-old Kenny Matthew Miksch of San Lorenzo
Along with another man, from Turlock, 29-year-old Jessie Alexander Rush.
Burghart says the charges will hopefully discourage bad actors while we can acknowledge that the threat of these extremist groups is real.
“It’s hopeful that this indictment sends a clear message to those in the far-right who continue to have fantasies about a second civil war that their actions have consequences,” Burghart said.
If convicted, these four face up to 20 years in prison and $250,000 fines for each charge.
Carrillo on the other hand faces federal and local charges of murder and attempted murder.