Man linked to far-right extremist movement charged with shooting officers during George Floyd protests

He allegedly used what investigators have described as a 'ghost gun' — a homemade assault-style rifle

Chris Riotta
New York
Wednesday 17 June 2020 18:05
Federal prosecutors charge 'Boogaloo extremists' with murder

A man charged with killing two officers in California has ties to a far-right extremist movement, federals officials alleged, and plotted to use protests over the death of George Floyd to launch a race war.

Steven Carrillo, an active-duty staff sergeant in the US Air Force, opened fire on a guard shack outside of a federal building in Oakland on 29 May, according to charging documents. The shooting occurred as demonstrators were gathering throughout the city to mourn the death of Mr Floyd, a 46-year-old unarmed black man who was seen pleading for his life as a white police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes in cellphone footage that sparked global anti-racism demonstrations.

An FBI affidavit that was unsealed on Tuesday said Mr Carrillo was seemingly planning to use the protests to attack law enforcement. Officials have said Mr Carrillo was a suspected member of the Boogaloo movement, a loosely-connected group of provocateurs calling for another American civil war through violent actions.

The affidavit said Mr Carrillo, who faces federal murder and attempted murder charges, wrote in a Facebook post: “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.”

He later killed David Patrick Underwood, a federal protective services officer, during a drive-by shooting that same night. Robert Alvin Justus Jr, who allegedly drove Mr Carrillo in the van used for the drive-by shooting, has been charged with aiding and abetting murder and attempted murder.

As deputies with the Santa Cruz Sheriff’s office closed in on Mr Carrillo nearly a week later, he allegedly stole a car to flee — writing phrases connected to the Boogaloo movement in his own blood on top of the vehicle.

He then used what investigators have described as a “ghost gun” — a homemade assault-style rifle — during a shootout with law enforcement that left one officer, Sheriff Jim Hart, dead.

Mr Justus has reportedly told investigators “he did not want to participate in the murder” according to the complaint, “but that he felt that he had to participate because he was trapped in the van” with Mr Carrillo, who he allegedly met just before the drive-by shooting.

Jeffrey, Stotter, an attorney for Mr Carrillo, described his client as a “loyal and good airman” who “suffered severe personal loss in the suicide of his wife two years ago” in a statement to CNN.

He added: “There is more to Mr Carrillo than the picture painted by law enforcement.”

Police departments across the country have warned in recent weeks of extremist groups and provocateurs embedding themselves into the nationwide protests to instigate trouble with law enforcement.

The largely peaceful demonstrations have continued for weeks, with protestors demanding an end to police brutality and the use of excessive force against minority communities and unarmed black men.

Memorials have meanwhile been planned across California for both of the officers killed in the shootings.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in