U.S. News

Two men linked to 'boogaloo' movement charged in U.S. courthouse guard killing

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Two men inspired by the militant anti-government “boogaloo” movement have been charged in the drive-by killing of a federal courthouse guard in Oakland, California, last month during a night of nearby protests against police brutality, court records showed on Tuesday.

One of the men, U.S. Air Force Sergeant Steven Carrillo, 32, had already been charged with killing a sheriff’s deputy in a violent confrontation with law enforcement in California’s Santa Cruz Mountains that ended in his arrest on June 6.

On Monday, federal prosecutors charged him with murder in the fatal ambush of Federal Protective Service officer David Patrick Underwood, who was gunned down at his guard post outside Oakland’s U.S. courthouse on May 29.

Carrillo also was charged with the attempted murder of a second guard injured in the Oakland attack, which unfolded blocks away from demonstrations and civil unrest over the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis days earlier.

Carrillo’s suspected accomplice, Robert Alvin Justus Jr., 30, was charged with aiding and abetting the Oakland attack. He was arrested, according to an FBI affidavit filed in the case, after confessing to driving the van from which Carrillo opened fire on the two uniformed guards.

Justus was not implicated in the events a week later that led to Carrillo’s arrest - a deadly ambush on California sheriff’s deputies, an ensuing gunbattle with police and a failed carjacking getaway attempt.

Carrillo was charged last week in state court with one count of murder, eight counts of attempted murder, and various other offenses, including the making and detonating of pipe bombs.

Slideshow ( 3 images )

Court papers filed in the case linked both men with the far-right boogaloo ideology whose followers see the U.S. government as an enemy bent on confiscating the guns they need in the event of civil war, a violent uprising or collapse of society.

The FBI affidavit said Carrillo appeared to have used his own blood to scrawl the word “BOOG” - shorthand for boogaloo - and the phrase “I became unreasonable” on the hood of a car he sought to hijack before he was apprehended near the central California town of Ben Lomond.

A search of his vehicle, the same van tied to the Oakland shooting, turned up a ballistic vest with a boogaloo insignia patch, according to the FBI. Authorities also seized an assault rifle equipped with a silencer, a gun they said was used in both killings.

The FBI said the two defendants met on Facebook and that Carrillo wrote in an online chat the night before the Oakland shooting that the street protests over Floyd’s death presented “a great opportunity” to stage an attack.

The affidavit quoted Justus as replying: “let’s boogie,” which, according to the FBI, signified an “agreement and affirmation to engage in attacks on law enforcement personnel in accordance with boogaloo ideology.”

Three other suspected followers of the boogaloo movement were arrested earlier this month by federal authorities and charged with planning to incite violence and destruction during protests in Las Vegas.

Reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Bill Tarrant and Peter Cooney