The accused gunman in the slaying of a Federal Protective Service officer is linked to the extremist Boogaloo movement that promotes armed uprising, U.S. Attorney David Anderson said Tuesday, with the shooter even writing with his blood phrases linked to the movement on a car hood as police closed in.
Steven Carrillo, 32, was stationed at Travis Air Force Base on May 29 when the active-duty staff sergeant, allegedly aided by driver Robert Alvin Justus, Jr., 30, opened fire on a small guard post outside the federal building in Oakland, Calif., at 9:44 p.m., killing Officer David Patrick Underwood and wounding another officer.
“We have witnessed an outright assault on our law enforcement community last night in Oakland, California,” Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said in a news conference after the shooting. “An assassin cowardly shot two Federal Protective Service contractors as they stood watch over a protest.”
Though protests were occurring that night in reaction to the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, stills from surveillance footage included in the criminal complaint do not show any protesters around the scene as the accused allegedly conducted reconnaissance before the drive-by shooting.
According to the criminal complaint, surveillance footage showed a white Ford van park across the street at an intersection, facing the guard post, 15 minutes before the shooting. The driver was seen getting out of the van and walking around the area for 10 minutes, getting back in the van at 9:38 p.m. When the van pulled up to the guard post minutes later, the sliding passenger-side door rolled open and a gunman fired multiple rounds at the officers. The van, which was missing license plates, fled the scene.
On June 6, a witness reported that a white van was parked on a property in Ben Lomond, Calif., with what “appeared to be ammunition, firearms, and bomb-making equipment” inside. Santa Cruz County sheriff’s deputies responded to the property and someone opened fire, striking two of the deputies. Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller was killed, and an explosion further injured the wounded deputy.
The shooter fled and a white Toyota Camry was carjacked minutes afterward; that vehicle was abandoned and another carjacking was attempted before Carrillo, suffering a gunshot wound to the hip, was arrested on foot in the area. The gun recovered from the suspect was a homemade short rifle with a silencer that accepted 9mm Glock-style magazines and fired a round on both the depression and release of the trigger. The ammo used at the Oakland and Ben Lomond crime scenes matched.
The criminal complaint says that a ballistic vest found in the van bore a patch connected to the Boogaloo movement. “Carrillo appears to have used his own blood to write various phrases on the hood of the Toyota Camry that he carjacked,” including “BOOG,” “I became unreasonable,” and “stop the duopoly,” the document states.
Officials said Carrillo’s cell phone records put him at Travis Air Force Base during the day of the Oakland shooting, and in Oakland that evening. Carrillo is believed to have traveled to Millbrae, where Justus lives, after the shooting and spent the night there.
Accompanied by his parents, Justus, who was already under surveillance, showed up at the FBI in San Francisco on June 11. Justus reportedly told agents that he met Carrillo on Facebook and that Carrillo “expressed an interest multiple times in shooting a helicopter, police officers, and civilians” in the course of their trip to Oakland. After shooting the federal officers, Justus said Carrillo exclaimed, “Did you see how they fucking fell?”
On the day before the shooting, Carrillo posted in a Facebook group, “It’s on our coast now, this needs to be nationwide. It’s a great opportunity to target the specialty soup bois. Keep that energy going.” The complaint says that Justus replied, “Lets boogie,” and that “soup bois” is believed to refer to law enforcement as followers of the Boogaloo movement sometimes refer to law enforcement agencies as “alphabet soup.”
On the morning of the shooting, Carrillo posted on Facebook, “Go to the riots and support our own cause. Show them the real targets. Use their anger to fuel our fire. Think outside the box. We have mobs of angry people to use to our advantage.”
Andrew T. Lynam Jr., 23, Stephen T. Parshall, 35, and William L. Loomis, 40, face federal firearms and explosives charges as well as local terrorism, conspiracy and explosives charges for allegedly preparing firebombs on the way to a Floyd protest in Las Vegas on May 30. Prosecutors said the trio are tied to the Boogaloo movement; Lynam’s lawyer argued that Boogaloo incorporated “a wide range of beliefs” and some people “who just like to vent their frustrations with excessive government interference.”
“From militia groups to white supremacists, extremists on a range of online platforms talk about—and sometimes even anticipate—the ‘boogaloo.’ The rise of ‘boogaloo,’ and its casual acceptance of future mass violence, is disturbing,” says the ADL’s Center on Extremism, explaining that the movement spread from “angry gun-rights activists to the militia movement and survivalists… to other movements with anti-government beliefs, primarily minarchists and anarcho-capitalists, which are essentially conservative alternatives to anarchism, as well as a few apparent anarchists.”
“Whereas the militia movement, radical gun rights activists typically promote the boogaloo as a war against the government or liberals, white supremacists conceive of the boogaloo as a race war or a white revolution. Some promote boogaloo-related phrases alongside hashtags such as #dotr or #DayOfTheRope, both of which are references to neo-Nazi William Pierce’s The Turner Diaries, a novelized blueprint for a white revolution.”