An Air Force Staff Sergeant tied to a right-wing group trying to incite a civil war has been arrested for the murder of Department of Homeless Services Protective Security Officer David Patrick Underwood and the wounding of a second uniformed officer May 29 in Oakland, Ca.
The drive-by shooting at the Ron Dellums Federal Building came in the midst of civil unrest that rocked that city and the nation in the aftermath of George Floyd's death in police custody four days earlier.
Charged in Deputy's Murder
Sgt. Steven Carrillo, 32, was already in police custody for the alleged June 6 fatal shooting of Santa Cruz County Deputy Sheriff Damon Gutzwiller, 38, and the wounding of a second unidentified officer in an ambush attack that included the use of multiple improvised explosives.
Mr. Carrillo was taken into custody after a civilian whose car he tried to steal, subdued him after a struggle in which he was disarmed of a rifle, a pipe bomb and a hand-gun.
According to the FBI affidavit filed in the case, the AR-15-style rifle recovered was "a Privately Made Firearm (PMF) with no manufacturer's markings."
When it was tested, investigators said the weapon "fired two- or three-round bursts when the trigger was released and is classified as a machine gun. Finally, the rifle was fitted with a silencer that suppresses the sound of gunfire."
According to the Department of Justice court filings in the case, Mr. Carrillo used Facebook to express his support for the Boogaloo movement that is based on "a narrative of inciting a violent uprising against perceived government tyranny."
'Mobs of Angry People'
"Go to the riots and support our own cause. Show them the real targets," Mr. Carrillo wrote in a post according to the filings. "Use their anger to fuel our fire. Think outside the box. We have mobs of angry people to use to our advantage."
Adherents to the Booglaoo movement are fixated on what they refer to as the "alphabet soup" of Federal law-enforcement agencies and the 1992 Rudy Ridge siege in Idaho in which an FBI agent killed Viki Weaver, the wife of white supremacist Randy Weaver.
Also charged in the case was Robert A. Justus, 30, who allegedly drove the white van from which Mr. Carrillo fired at Mr. Underwood. Mr. Justus has been charged with attempted murder and aiding and abetting murder. He turned himself in June 11.
At a June 16 press conference held at the site of Mr. Underwood's murder, U.S. Attorney David L. Anderson told reporters, "Pat Underwood was murdered because he wore a uniform, but he was much more than just the uniform he wore. Pat Underwood was a brother, a father, and a son."
"Many, many people will miss hearing the sound of his voice and laughter," Mr. Anderson continued. "Pat Underwood wore his uniform because it signified his authority to protect the courthouse where we are gathered here today...In announcing today's charges, we are reaffirming our determination to protect those who protect us."
'An Important Step'
"These arrests are an important step for our community, the families of those who were killed in the line of duty, and our law-enforcement partners, so that we may begin the healing process," said FBI San Francisco Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett. "While we cannot bring Officer Pat Underwood and Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller back, we can hold those responsible for taking them from us accountable."
Brian Levin, the executive director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University,dtold the Los Angeles Times that since 2019, excluding the most recent murders, there had been 27 homicides linked to right-wing extremists.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and state-ordered shutdowns to slow the spread of the deadly virus, armed militias have staged protests in several states including Michigan, Virginia and Texas to protest the public-health measures.
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