Ex-Air Force sergeant pleads guilty to killing federal guard

FILE - This June 7, 2020, file booking photo from the Santa Cruz County, Calif., Sheriff's Office shows Steven Carrillo. The former U.S. Air Force sergeant with alleged ties to the "boogaloo" movement has changed his plea to guilty in the 2020 fatal shooting of a federal security officer in the San Francisco Bay Area. Carrillo had pleaded not guilty in July 2020 in David Patrick Underwood's killing. Underwood was shot May 29, 2020, while standing outside an Oakland federal building amid large protests against police brutality following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. (Santa Cruz Sheriff's Office via AP, File)
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Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A former U.S. Air Force staff sergeant and alleged member of the “boogaloo” extremist movement pleaded guilty Friday in the fatal shooting of a federal security officer in the San Francisco Bay Area amid large 2020 protests against police brutality.

Steven Carrillo, 33, originally pleaded not guilty in July 2020 in the killing of David Patrick Underwood, who was shot on May 29, 2020, while he stood in a guard shack in front of a federal building in Oakland.

He changed the plea at a federal court in San Francisco after federal prosecutors on Jan. 31 agreed not to seek the death penalty in the case.

Prosecutors have said Carrillo, of Santa Cruz, had ties to the “boogaloo” movement —a concept embraced by a loose network of gun enthusiasts and militia-style extremists. The group started in alt-right culture on the internet with the belief that there is an impending U.S. civil war, according to experts.

Authorities accused Carrillo of fatally shooting Underwood after spraying a guard shack he was in with bullets from a white van.

Prosecutors said Robert Alvin Justus Jr., of Millbrae, drove the van. The pair is accused of driving to Oakland and taking advantage of the distraction afforded by people marching through the city’s downtown to protest George Floyd’s killing by a police officer in Minneapolis.

A week after the shooting in Oakland, Carrillo allegedly ambushed sheriff’s deputies in Santa Cruz County who were responding to a report of a van containing firearms and bomb-making materials. Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller, 38, was killed and several other law enforcement officials were wounded, according to authorities and court records.

Prosecutors in Santa Cruz charged Carrillo with a slew of felonies, including murder and attempted murder in connection to that killing.

Carrillo pleaded not guilty to Gutzwiller’s killing.