2020 boogaloo killings

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2020 boogaloo killings
Part of terrorism in the United States
LocationOakland, California, U.S.
Santa Cruz County, California, U.S.
DateOakland shooting: May 29, 2020
Santa Cruz County shootout: June 6, 2020 (PDT)
Attack type
Shooting, bombing, shootout
WeaponsRifle, improvised explosive devices
Injured4 (including one of the suspects)
AccusedSteven Carrillo, Robert Justus

U.S. Air Force sergeant Steven Carrillo was charged in June 2020 for two ambush-style attacks on law enforcement officers in California. The first was a May 29 shooting that resulted in the death of a Federal Protective Service officer in Oakland. The second occurred on June 6, 2020 and involved the bombing and shooting of Santa Cruz County deputies. Two officers were wounded and one was killed in the second incident. A second suspect, Robert Justus, was charged as an accomplice.

The FBI indicated that Carrillo was associated with the boogaloo movement, a loosely organized American far-right extremist movement whose participants say they are preparing for a second civil war.[1][2][3] The specific ideology of each group varies, and views on some topics such as race differ widely. The attacks were performed during the George Floyd protests. A white van allegedly used in the murders contained boogaloo-related symbols and Carrillo wrote "boog" and the phrase "I became unreasonable" (a popular meme among boogaloo groups) in his own blood on the hood of a vehicle he hijacked.[4] Authorities have not released a motive for the attacks.[5]

People involved[edit source | edit]

Steven Carrillo is a 32-year-old Air Force sergeant from Ben Lomond, California. He was on active duty at the Travis Air Force Base where he led the Phoenix Ravens, an anti-terrorist security squadron.[6][7] A former friend of Carrillo's told ABC News that Carrillo identified as a libertarian.[8]

Robert A. Justus Jr. is a 30-year-old man from Millbrae, California.[9]

Attacks[edit source | edit]

Oakland shooting[edit source | edit]

On May 29, 2020, two Federal Protective Service officers were shot in Oakland, California by an unknown assailant firing out of a vehicle's sliding door.[10] The shooting resulted in the death of one of the officers and the wounding of the other. The officers were targeted while they were on patrol outside the Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building in the city's downtown, during the George Floyd protests in California.[11] David Patrick Underwood, a 53-year-old officer, was fatally shot and died of gunshot wounds, while another officer was critically wounded.[12] At the time of the shooting, Underwood was providing security at the courthouse during a protest.[13] The vehicle had approached the building around 9:45 pm and an individual inside of the vehicle opened fire at the officers.[14]

The Department of Homeland Security investigated the act as possible domestic terrorism.

Santa Cruz County attack[edit source | edit]

On June 6, Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Department officers arrived at Carrillo's residence in Ben Lomond, California. Carrillo, a 32-year-old Air Force sergeant, was armed with an AR-15 rifle and improvised explosive devices and is alleged to have fired at the deputies, injuring one and killing Sheriff Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller.[9][6] He also reportedly threw pipe bombs at the officers.[6] During the shootout, Carrillo was hit and fled on foot to a nearby highway where he attempted to hijack a car.[9] According to the criminal complaint against him, Carrillo scrawled messages in his own blood on the hijacked car that said "I became unreasonable", "stop the duopoly", and "Boog".[9]

Carrillo was wounded and arrested in connection with the attack.[15][16]

Investigation[edit source | edit]

The FBI investigation of the Oakland shooting did not initially reveal a motive or a suspect.[17] By June 2, investigators believed the attackers were targeting uniformed officers.[18] An abandoned white van that held firearms, ammunition, and bomb-making equipment contained evidence that led to Carrillo's home in Ben Lomond. A ballistic vest found in the white van bore a patch with the boogaloo symbols of Hawaiian-style print and igloos.[9][6] At his home he opened fire on officers, was shot in the process, fled on foot, and hijacked a nearby car. He was later found and arrested, bleeding from his hip.[9] According to an official from the ATF, a homemade machine gun with a silencer was used in the shootings. The weapon was a "ghost gun" and did not have a serial number.[19]

The FBI announced on June 16 that Steven Carrillo was associated with the boogaloo movement and had intentionally timed his attacks to coincide with the George Floyd protests.[19] The hijacked car had "boog" and "I became unreasonable" written in the blood on the vehicle's hood.[6] "I became unreasonable" is a popular phrase in boogaloo memes, and is a quote from Marvin Heemeyer, the perpetrator of the 2004 "Killdozer" rampage in which he demolished several buildings over a zoning dispute.[20]

Using a search warrant, the FBI investigated posts from Carrillo's Facebook account posted between May 28th and 29th. One message read, "It's on our coast now, this needs to be nationwide. It's a great opportunity to target the specialty soup bois." (According to the FBI, "soup bois" may refer to federal law enforcement agents.) Another read, "Its kicking off now and if its not kicking off in your hood then start it. Show them the targets."[21]

Justus was a suspect in the Oakland shooting and was placed under FBI surveillance. He turned himself in at the federal building in San Francisco five days after Carrillo's arrest.[6]

Legal proceedings[edit source | edit]

Carrillo was charged with 19 felonies, including murder and attempted murder. The charges carry lying in wait enhancements, making him eligible for the death penalty.[19] Justus is facing charges of aiding and abetting murder as well as attempted murder.[6]

See also[edit source | edit]

References[edit source | edit]

  1. Charter, David (May 16, 2020). "'Boogaloo boys' prepare for next American civil war in Hawaiian shirts". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Archived from the original on May 28, 2020. Retrieved May 30, 2020.
  2. "Why some protesters in America wear Hawaiian shirts". The Economist. May 23, 2020. ISSN 0013-0613. Archived from the original on May 28, 2020. Retrieved May 30, 2020.
  3. Allam, Hannah (January 10, 2020). "'Boogaloo' Is The New Far-Right Slang For Civil War". National Public Radio. Archived from the original on April 23, 2020. Retrieved May 30, 2020.
  4. Zadrozny, Brandy; Collins, Ben; Blankstein, Andrew (June 11, 2020). "Man accused in deputy ambush scrawled extremist 'Boogaloo' phrases in blood". NBC News. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  5. Gafni, Matthias; Serrano, Alejandro (June 9, 2020). "Santa Cruz County deputy's suspected killer posted criticism of police in hours before shooting". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved June 17, 2020.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 Gartrell, Nate; Kelliher, Fiona (June 16, 2020). "Santa Cruz deputy's alleged killer charged with assassinating federal cop in Oakland ambush; authorities link attacks to extremist group that believes civil war looming". The Mercury News.
  7. "Deputy killed, 2 other officers injured after being ambushed in Santa Cruz County". ABC7 Los Angeles. June 7, 2020.
  8. Mendoza, Martha; Dazio, Stefanie (June 13, 2020). "Airman may face death penalty in California cop killing". ABC News. Associated Press.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 Dolan, Maura; Winton, Richard (June 16, 2020). "Suspect in killing of 2 Bay Area officers tied to right-wing Boogaloo group, prosecutors allege". Los Angeles Times.
  10. Serrano, Alejandro (June 11, 2020). "Travis air base sergeant charged with murder in killing of Santa Cruz deputy". San Francisco Chronicle.
  11. Nguyen, Daisy (June 1, 2020). "Officer killed near California protest identified; Ohio cop shooting was 'intentional', chief says". USA Today. Retrieved June 7, 2020.
  12. Whiting, Sam (June 1, 2020). "Federal Protective Service Officer Fatally Shot in Oakland Identified". www.officer.com. Archived from the original on June 1, 2020. Retrieved June 1, 2020.
  13. Pane, Lisa Marie (June 2, 2020). "Retired officer, ex-college athlete among victims of unrest". Associated Press. Retrieved June 2, 2020.
  14. "Update: Security Officers Gunned Down At Oakland Federal Building; DHS Official Calls Gunman 'An Assassin'". CBS SF BayArea. May 30, 2020. Retrieved June 7, 2020.
  15. Whiting, Sam; Gafni, Matthias (June 7, 2020). "Air Force sergeant arrested in ambush of Santa Cruz deputy; link to Oakland shooting eyed". San Francisco Chronicle.
  16. Hutchinson, Bill; Stone, Alex; Margolin, Josh; McLaughlin, Elizabeth (June 7, 2020). "FBI probes possible link between Air Force sergeant suspected in ambush killing of CA deputy and officer's murder". ABC News. Retrieved June 7, 2020.
  17. Debolt, David (June 1, 2020). "Federal Protection Services officer killed in Oakland drive-by shooting identified". The Mercury News. Retrieved June 1, 2020.
  18. "As Anti-Violence Protests Continue, Oakland Police Call for Information on Officers' Shooting". KQED.
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 Beer, Tommy (June 16, 2020). "Accused Killer Of California Cops Was Associated With Right-Wing 'Boogaloo Movement'". Forbes.
  20. Harms, Cathy (June 5, 2004). "Man who bulldozed through Colo. town is dead". MSNBC. Retrieved June 17, 2020.
  21. "FBI: Facebook exchange preceded deadly attack on officer". Star Tribune. Retrieved June 17, 2020.

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