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.