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Convicted police-murderer pleads guilty to slaying Santa Cruz County deputy

Santa Cruz – Anti-government militia member and former Air Force Sgt. Steven Carrillo pleaded guilty Monday to the murder of a Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office deputy in his second capital murder case.

Steven Carrillo
steven carrillo

Steven Carrillo Carrillo, 34, of Ben Lomond, appeared in Alameda County Superior Court in Dublin in what was scheduled as a trial date-setting hearing, instead filing his revised plea for nine felony counts and several special charges. Santa Cruz County District Attorney Jeff Rossel said the petition resulted from a conversation in which his office would not seek the death penalty. Instead, Carrillo is expected to face life in prison without the possibility of parole.

“Our hearts go out to all Santa Cruz County law enforcement officers, especially the Gutzwiller family, affected by the horrific events of June 6, 2020,” Rossel said in a prepared statement. “Although nothing can bring Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller back, we hope that today can bring some measure of justice to all those affected by this tragedy. Today’s petition for life in prison without the possibility of parole, This will ensure that the defendant spends the rest of his life in jail where he is.”

As part of the deal, several charges against Carrillo were dropped. The remaining charges include murder, four attempted murder charges against law enforcement officers, one additional attempted murder of a civilian, carjacking, possession of an assault weapon and an explosive device. With each murder/attempt to murder charges were increased for intentional discharge of a weapon. The murder charge also includes murder of a peace officer and manslaughter as an attempt to evade arrest.

Before joining the officers, Carrillo began messaging fellow members of the Grizzly Scouts, a paramilitary group known for supporting the Boogaloo ideology. According to a release from Rossel’s office, the Boogaloo movement revolves around a desire to violently overthrow the government and start a second civil war and result in violent attacks on law enforcement across the country.

When Santa Cruz County representatives arrived at Carrillo’s home, believing they had linked him to a murder committed a week earlier, Carrillo admitted in a prepared statement that he read aloud in court on Monday, as live- Heard through stream audio court proceedings. He said he started firing on the deputy in an attempt to avoid apprehension.

In an exchange between Carrillo and the members of the group, Carrillo asks the others to come to his rescue.

“They’re waiting for reinforcements. I’m listening to them… Guys I fed one… They’re staging… Come help. I have cameras everywhere they’re waiting,” said Carrillo Allegedly typed up, according to a partial transcript of the cell phone and forensic records provided by Rossel’s office.

Carrillo used the same assault rifle that had been converted to a fully automatic assault weapon to kill Gutzwiller as he had used in a murder the week before.

On June 3, Carrillo was sentenced to 41 years in federal prison for an earlier murder, a sentence that also arose from a plea deal. On May 29, 2020, Carrillo was involved in a drive-by shooting in Oakland, where he killed Federal Security Service officer Patrick Underwood and injured a second security guard. A week later, Carrillo killed Gutzwiller and attempted to kill two other deputies and two California Highway Patrol officers, who responded to his Ben Lomond home.

Three weeks earlier, after Gutzwiller’s remembrance ceremony held at the county park to change the name in honor of the deputy, Sheriff Jim Hart took note of Carrillo’s federal sentencing.

“I was really disappointed in that sentence. I thought that 41 years, the drive-by shooting of a security officer, killing one, injuring another, for me it’s a life-without-parole case, Hart told Sentinel. “I thought the federal government should have set the tone with these extremist groups that if you do this kind of activity, you either get the death penalty or you are going to jail for the rest of your life.

“I think if we’re trying to set a tone for this type of behavior that this type of action against the government will not be tolerated or accepted in California or anywhere in our country, you have to drop the hammer. people and give them important sentences where people are going to think twice,” Hart said.

According to a “statement of facts” document in court Monday by Rossel, to investigate calls reporting Carrillo’s attack on Ben Lomond a white van illegally parked on a remote section of Jamison Creek Road in Boulder Creek. Inspired by his deputy. Inside, the caller reported, bomb-making materials and ammunition were visible. The van was registered in an ML Carrillo on Waldeburg Road in Ben Lomond, with a deputy and two deputies providing back-up for the drive home.

Gutzwiller was killed around 2:26 p.m. during Carrillo’s initial attack, and Deputy Alex Spencer was shot in the chest in the next attack. Spencer and deputy Emma Ramponi, originally responding to the office, escape from the woods after reporting Gutzwiller was shot. Hearing the call, CHP officers Michael Asti and Luis Rodriguez rushed to the scene and were caught between the deputy’s parked cars and an oncoming ambulance on a narrow road. Seeing Carrillo approach on foot from the back of the car, officers and Carrillo exchanged fire, causing injuries on both sides.

Carrillo fled and stole a Toyota Camry at gunpoint nearby. Meanwhile, Spencer and Ramponi locate a firefighter who was providing medical aid for Spencer on Trout Gulch Raid. According to Rossel, Carrillo struck Spencer and sent his body flying. The Camry was later found abandoned with the message “I’ve Been Unreasonable Boog Stop the Duopoly”, written in Carrillo’s blood on its trunk.

Carrillo, still armed with his weapon, drove to a business complex and unsuccessfully attempted to break into several more vehicles. Then, when Carrillo was hiding inside an enclosed slide of a children’s play structure in a nearby house, a Good Samaritan spotted him and urged him to move to a different residence. There, the two talked until the Good Samaritan disarmed Carrillo and a scuffle ensued in which Carrillo first attempted to set off a pipe bomb and then shot the man with a pistol. The Good Samaritan subdues Carrillo until law enforcement officers can arrive at 3:38 p.m.

Carrillo will be sentenced on August 26. officer, one killed, the other injured, for me it’s a life-parole case without,” Hart told the Sentinel. “I thought the federal government should have set the tone with these extremist groups.” That if you do such activity, you either get the death penalty or you are going to jail for the rest of your life.

“I think if we’re trying to set a tone for this type of behavior that this type of action against the government will not be tolerated or accepted in California or anywhere in our country, you have to drop the hammer. people and give them important sentences where people are going to think twice,” Hart said.

Carrillo will be sentenced on August 26.

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