OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — A member of the Boogaloo extremist movement was sentenced to prison on Friday for murdering a federal courthouse guard in Oakland during a large protest against police brutality.
Former U.S. Air Force staff sergeant Steven Carrillo, 33, of Ben Lomond, was sentenced at a San Francisco courthouse to serve 41 years in prison.
Carrillo pleaded guilty to murdering officer Dave Patrick Underwood in a drive-by shooting on May 29, 2020 at the Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse.
As part of Carrillo’s plea deal, prosecutors agreed to not seek the death penalty.
He signed a confession that detailed how he carried out the killing. Carrillo admitted that he aligned himself with an anti-government movement, the Boogaloos, that is made up of a loose network of gun enthusiasts and militia-style extremists.
In the days before the shooting, he posted messages on Facebook encouraging violence against federal law enforcement officers. On May 28, 2020, he posted, “Anyone down to boog?”
The follow day, he wrote on Facebook, “I just wanna perpetuate the hate and violence towards the governments attack dogs” and “(t)his is a great time to perpetuate the destruction of the government.”
At the time, Carrillo was an active member of the U.S. Air Force and assigned to Travis Air Force Base.
He conspired with other Boogaloo members to channel anger from widespread George Floyd protests around the San Francisco Bay Area toward the Boogaloo’s anti-government ideology.
He wrote on Facebook, “It’s kicking off now and if it’s not kicking off in your hood then start it. Show them the targets. 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.”
Carrillo agreed to meet another Boogaloo member at the San Leandro BART station and arrived in a white Ford van. Carrillo had firearms and incendiary devices with him in the van.
Robert Alvin Justus Jr., 32, of Millbrae, drove the van to the federal courthouse building while Carrillo prepared to open fire, prosecutors said. A large crowd of George Floyd protesters were marching through downtown Oakland near the courthouse.
At 9:44 p.m., Carrillo opened the van’s sliding door and shot 19 rounds at Underwood and a second officer. The second officer was wounded and survived.
At Carrillo’s plea hearing, Underwood’s sister, Angela Underwood Jacobs, told the killer, “Your soul must be dark and empty.
“Did your country fail you? No, you failed your country. Cowards like you fear true bravery,” she told her brother’s killer.
The case was investigated by the FBI, Oakland Police Department and the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office. Carrillo is still facing a second murder charge in Santa Cruz for allegedly gunning down a Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s deputy on June 6, 2020.
Carrillo ambushed deputies in his Ben Lomond home’s driveway when they arrived to investigate his van, investigators said.
Sheriff’s Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller, 38, was killed and several other law enforcement officers were wounded in the ambush. Carrillo was shot in the leg and used his own blood to scrawl the word “Boog” and “stop the duopoly” before he fled into the woods.
Carrillo was on the run until Ben Lomond residents found him hiding, disarmed him, and held him down on the ground.
As deputies hauled Carrillo away, cellphone videos shot by local residents recorded Carrillo screaming at the deputies.
“This is why I’m sick of these god d**n police. This is what I’m sick of,” he screams in the video.
More Boogaloos connected to case
Four more alleged Boogaloo members pleaded guilty to conspiring to destroy communications and other records about the Oakland murder.
A grand jury indicted Jessie Alexander Rush, 29, of Turlock; Robert Jesus Blancas, 33, of Castro Valley; Simon Sage Ybarra, 23, of Los Gatos; and Kenny Matthew Miksch, 21, of San Lorenzo. They were charged with conspiring to obstruct justice.
Miksch, Rush, Ybarra, and Blancas admitted they periodically held group meetings for firearms training, according to prosecutors. They engaged in armed, in-person “training operations” in May 2020 that labeled police officers as “enemy forces,” prosecutors said.
According to court documents, the militia group had about 25 members and had formed a “Quick Reaction Force” that was supposed to carry out attacks during mass demonstrations.
– The Associated Press contributed to this report