SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KRON) — A member of the “Boogaloo” extremist movement pleaded guilty Monday to murdering Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller.
District Attorney Jeff Rosell said Steven Carrillo’s guilty plea will result in a life prison sentence without the possibility of parole.
“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,” Rosell said.
Carrillo, 33, also pleaded guilty to the attempted murder of four more law enforcement officers, as well as one civilian. Carrillo ambushed several law enforcement officers who arrived at his Ben Lomond home to investigate the murder of a federal officer in Oakland.
Carrillo was a U.S. Air Force staff sergeant. He admitted to joining an anti-government movement, the Boogaloos, that is made up of a loose network of gun enthusiasts and militia-style extremists.
When Gutzwiller arrived at Carrillo’s home on June 6, 2020 to investigate the Oakland homicide, Carrillo tried to escape by staging an ambush.
Prosecutors wrote Monday, “The charges stemmed from the extreme violence that Carrillo committed in the small mountain town of Ben Lomond on June 6, 2020, which devastated our community. He admitted that he committed these acts of unthinkable violence to escape what he believed was apprehension by law enforcement for the murder of a federal officer, David Underwood, which he had committed the week prior in Oakland.”
Gutzwiller, 38, was killed and several other law enforcement officers were wounded. 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.
“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,” prosecutors wrote.
Carrillo went on the run until Ben Lomond residents found him hiding, disarmed him, and held him down on the ground. As deputies hauled Carrillo away, he screamed, “This is why I’m sick of these god d**n police. This is what I’m sick of.”
Carrillo will be sentenced on August 26.
District Attorney Rosell said, “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. Although nothing can bring Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller back, we hope that today can bring some measure of justice for everyone touched by this tragedy.”
Gutzwiller is survived by his widow, Faviola Del Real, and their young children, Carter and Lucia.