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July 4, 2020

FBI links alleged Sheriff’s deputy killer to death of federal officer in Oakland

By Jake Pierce, Good Times

OAKLAND—The Ben Lomond man charged with killing a Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s deputy on June 6 was also the gunman in the shooting of two law enforcement officers in Oakland last month, U.S. Attorney Dave Anderson alleged Tuesday.

Millbrae resident Robert Justus Jr. drove a white van past a federal courthouse in Oakland on May 29, while Steven Carrillo shot two security officers—David Patrick Underwood, who died, and one of Underwood’s colleagues, who was injured—out of the van’s open sliding passenger-side door, Anderson said in a press conference.

Robert Justus Jr.

Carrillo used a privately made machine gun with no markings or serial number that had a silencer on the barrel, Alcohol Fire and Tobacco Special Agent in Charge Patrick Gorman added.

Though there was a protest in Oakland that day, officials said the two men were simply using the demonstration over the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minnesota police officers as cover. 

“The planned protests in Oakland provided an opportunity for them to target multiple law enforcement personnel and avoid apprehension in the large crowds attending the demonstrations,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Jack Bennett said.

“To be clear, Carrillo elected to travel to Oakland to conduct this murder and take advantage of a time when this nation was mourning the killing of George Floyd,” Bennett said. “There is no evidence that these men had any intention to join the protest in Oakland, as some media have asked. They came to Oakland to kill cops.”

In addition to already facing several charges in the Ben Lomond shooting, Carrillo has now been charged with murder and attempted murder in the Oakland shooting. Carrillo, who has been in state custody, will be brought into federal custody, Anderson said. Justus has been charged with aiding and abetting murder and attempted murder, he said.

In a vehicle registered to Carrillo, detectives found a ballistic vest with a patch on it, Anderson said. The patch had an American-style flag, but in the area where the stars would be there was instead a picture of an igloo. In place of one of the flag’s stripes was a Hawaiian-style motif, Anderson said. Additionally, Anderson said Carrillo during the June 6 crime spree in the sleepy Santa Cruz County town used his own blood to write phrases associated with a newly-formed group of violent extremists with anti-law enforcement and anti-government beliefs in a car that he carjacked.

“The complaint alleges that the patch and the phrases written by Carrillo are associated with the so-called Boogaloo movement,” Anderson said. “The term is used by extremists to represent a violent uprising or impending civil war in the United States.”

The June 6 incident started when a caller in Santa Cruz County reported that they saw guns and bomb-making materials inside a white van. The van was leaving when the deputies arrived, and they followed and found it at a home on Waldeburg Drive in Ben Lomond.

When deputies arrived at Carrillo’s Ben Lomond home, a shootout ensued, in which Carrillo killed Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller and injured deputy Alex Spencer. A California Highway Patrol officer was also injured in that volley when a piece of shrapnel hit his hand.

Carrillo fled on foot and via carjackings before being tackled by a neighbor, and he was arrested shortly thereafter.


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