Suspected cop killer in Santa Cruz County also charged with murdering federal officer in Oakland

Two charged in fatal shooting of Federal Protective Services officers in Oakland
Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office booking photo of Steven Carrillo, along with surveillance image of the white van involved in the Oakland shootings on May 29, 2020, courtesy of the FBI.

The man suspected of killing a deputy in Santa Cruz County on June 6 has also been charged with the May 29 ambush shooting on Federal Protective Service officers in Oakland that killed David Patrick Underwood, a Pinole resident, and injured one of his colleagues, authorities announced Tuesday.

Steven Carrillo, an active-duty U.S. Air Force sergeant, is charged as the alleged shooter while Robert Alvin Justus Jr., a Millbrae resident, is charged as the accomplice and driver the night of the shooting.

Evidence suggests Carrillo and Justus were not in Oakland to join the protests calling for justice for the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody. Rather, the suspects had planned their attack to coincide with the demonstration in order to avoid apprehension, according to the FBI.

“They came to Oakland to kill cops,” said John Bennett, special agent in charge of the San Francisco Division of the FBI.

Other evidence uncovered during the course of the investigation suggests Carrillo supported the Boogaloo movement, described as a far-right extremist ideology whose followers have been planning for a second American Civil War.

Carrillo and Justus drove up to the Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building in Oakland at about 9:45 p.m. on May 29 in a white van, according to U.S. Attorney David Anderson, citing a federal complaint. Carrillo allegedly opened fire from the van, striking Underwood and his colleague who had been guarding the building, authorities said.

Surveillance footage in the area of the shooting captured the van. Then on June 6, a citizen witness in the town of Ben Lomond in Santa Cruz County reported a suspicion van with weapons and bomb making materials inside, Anderson said. Evidence from that van led Santa Cruz County deputies to Carrillo’s home in Ben Lomond. There, Carrillo fired upon the deputies in an ambush, killing Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller and injuring another officer.

Carrillo fled, first on foot and later by carjacking, but was eventually taken into custody.

The FBI had begun surveillance on Justus after discovering phone and text communications with Carrillo. On June 11, Justus turned himself in along with evidence of his involvement in the shooting, according to the FBI. Carrillo was charged in state court on June 15 with the murders and attempted murders.

The investigation uncovered that Carrillo used an AR-15-style rifle equipped with a silencer in the Oakland shooting. The machine gun was privately-made with no markings or serial numbers, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) determined.

A federal complaint also cites a ballistics vest recovered from the van as among the evidence pointing to the possible motive. The vest had a patch with an American-style flag with stripes like an American flag, but there were notable differences. On this altered flag, where there are normally stars, there was a picture of an igloo. One of the stripes on that same flag was a Hawaiian-style motif, Anderson said. Additionally, Carrillo appears to have used his own blood to write phrases on one of the cars 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 Boogaloo term is used by extremists to reference a violent uprising or impending Civil War in the United States.”

Speaking from the federal courthouse that Underwood helped to protect, top law enforcement officials remembered Underwood as a friendly presence who will be greatly missed.

“Pat Underwood was murdered because he wore a uniform,” the U.S. Attorney said. “He wore that uniform to signify his authority to protect the federal courthouse where we are gathered here today. This courthouse exists to administer justice, to uphold the rule of law and to protect the freedoms we all cherish.”

Underwood was “more than the uniform he wore,” Anderson added.

“Pat Underwood was a brother, a father, a son. He was a friend and a neighbor. There are many many people who will miss the sound of his laughter and the sound of his voice,” Anderson said.

A public memorial for Underwood is planned for this coming Friday at the Pinole Valley High School Theatre. Click here for more details. An online fundraiser has also been launched by the supervisor of the federal officers to support their families. To donate, click here.