Extreme-right ‘boogaloo’ follower charged with killing cop at US racism protest
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Extreme-right ‘boogaloo’ follower charged with killing cop at US racism protest

Steven Carrillo, an Air Force sergeant, also ambushed police who tried to arrest him, killing another officer; weapons, ammunition and materials for bombs found in his van and home

Matthew Rose, left, and Michael Carr, of Santa Cruz County hold posters of slain Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller, as they join others outside the Santa Cruz County Sheriff-Coroner's Office to pay their respects in Santa Cruz, Calif., Sunday, June 7, 2020.  (AP Photo/Martha Mendoza)
Matthew Rose, left, and Michael Carr, of Santa Cruz County hold posters of slain Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller, as they join others outside the Santa Cruz County Sheriff-Coroner's Office to pay their respects in Santa Cruz, Calif., Sunday, June 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Martha Mendoza)

WASHINGTON — A California Air Force sergeant with ties to the extreme-right “boogaloo” movement was charged Tuesday with the murder of an Oakland policeman during Black Lives Matter protests, one of two police officers he is accused of killing in recent weeks.

The Justice Department said Steven Carrillo gunned down Oakland police officer Patrick Underwood in a drive-by shooting from a white van during the May 29 protests over the police killing of a handcuffed African American man in Minneapolis.

Eight days later, on June 6, Carrillo’s van was discovered to the south near Santa Cruz, and when police neared Carillo’s residence, he ambushed them and killed another officer, Damon Gutzwiller.

He was tracked down and arrested after he stole another vehicle and attempted to escape.

In this Sunday, June 7, 2020, booking mugshot courtesy Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Office shows 32-year-old suspect Steven Carrillo, an active-duty U.S. Air Force sergeant arrested on suspicion of fatally shooting Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller, 38, and wounding two other officers Saturday. (Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Office via AP)

Officials said the Air Force security specialist was associated with the underground “boogaloo bois” ideology, which espouses a mix of anti-government extremism and civil and race war. Its followers often openly carry assault weapons and wear military-like and flowery Hawaiian garb in public.

According to local reports, Carillo — who had weapons, ammunition and materials for bombs in his van and home — wrote “boog” on the hood of a car in his own blood when he was arrested.

“The boogaloo term is used by extremists to reference a violent uprising or impending civil war in the United States,” said US Attorney David Anderson on Tuesday during a press conference in Oakland.

It was the second case of far-right extremists being arrested in relation to the protests against police brutality that swept the nation after the May 25 killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, since charged with murder.

US President Donald Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr have both repeatedly claimed that the protests and riots in a number of cities were driven by leftists of the “antifa” or anti-fascist movement.

But of hundreds of arrests nationwide, no evidence has been presented yet of organized leftists promoting violence in the demonstrations.

In this May 2, 2020, file photo, people, including those with the boogaloo movement, demonstrate against business closures due to concern about COVID-19, at the State House in Concord, N.H. It’s a fringe movement with roots in a online meme culture steeped in irony and dark humor. But experts warn that the anti-government boogaloo movement has attracted a dangerous element of far-right extremists. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

On June 3, Las Vegas police arrested three men also associated with the boogaloo movement and charged them for attempting to incite riot and start fires during a Black Lives Matter protest.

The three, two formerly in the military and one in the army reserve, had originally sought to stir up violence in mid-May protests against the coronavirus shutdown, the indictment said, citing a confidential FBI source.

On May 30, they decided to try to use the protests over Floyd’s death as a cover to stir up violence, preparing guns, ammunition and Molotov cocktails.

One “was very upset that the protests were not turning violent,” the indictment said.

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