Man accused of killing 2 California officers tied to right-wing group

Steven Carrillo is accused of being a member of the 'boogaloo' movement, a group of white men who feel that they are the targets of government tyranny

An Oakland Police officer walks by patrol cars at the Oakland Police headquarters on December 6, 2012 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Former Air Force Sgt. Steven Carrillo and his alleged accomplice, Robert A. Justus, were recently charged in the shooting death of a Black federal security officer, David Patrick Underwood, on May 29 in Oakland, California.

The men were apprehended when sheriff’s deputies searched their van on June 6 and found ammunition, firearms, bomb-making equipment, and a ballistic vest adorned with a patch.

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The patch featured the image of an igloo and Hawaiian-style, print which has come to be widely associated with a growing, far-right movement aimed at starting a new civil war in the United States.

Officials say that Carrillo is a follower of the “boogaloo” movement, formed by white militiamen who feel that they are the targets of government tyranny. The federal government has charged the two men with murder, and they are also facing state charges in the shooting of a Santa Clara sheriff’s deputy on June 6.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the charges qualify for the death penalty, but officials said no decision has yet been made on whether to seek it. Justus is charged with aiding Carrillo in the killing and attempted killing.

“There is no evidence that these men had any intention to join the demonstration in Oakland,” Special Agent in Charge Jack Bennett said at a Tuesday news conference. “They came to Oakland to kill cops.”

The men opened fire when officers came to apprehend them. Bombs were detonated and gunshots rang out, resulting in the death of Sheriff Damon Gutzwiller.

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Carrillo was shot in the confrontation, and in his thwarted escape, apparently used his own blood to write messages on the hood of the hijacked car, the complaint said. It identified the writing as “BOOG,” “I Became Unreasonable,” and “Stop the Duopoly.”

The men are a part of a larger investigation into far-right extremists who identify with the boogaloo movement. According to Al Jazeera, its members, known as “boogaloo boys” or “boogaloo bois,” are typically seen with assault rifles and tactical gear. Some adherents of the movement have also been spotted in Hawaiian shirts on social media outlets, such as Twitter and TikTok.