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Air Force Sergeant Who Allegedly Murdered Deputy Scrawled Extremist 'Boogaloo' Phrases In Blood

Steven Carrillo allegedly used blood to write several extremist messages — including a reference to 'Killdozer' Marvin Heemeyer.

By Gina Tron

A California Air Force sergeant accused of ambushing deputies with gunfire and explosives last week allegedly scrawled a number of extremist phrases in blood just before he was arrested.

Steven Carrillo, 32, allegedly attacked deputies in Santa Cruz County on June 6 while they were investigating a report of a van filled with guns and bomb making material, the Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Office stated last week.

As deputies began investigating, they were ambushed with gunfire and multiple improvised explosive devices,” according to the sheriff’s department. 

Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller was shot and taken to a hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. Another deputy was non-fatally injured during the ambush before Carrillo escaped and attempted several carjackings in the area, officials said.

Authorities managed to track him down to the small community of Ben Lomond. Officers shot and injured Carrillo while taking him into custody, according to the Associated Press.

Steven Carrillo AP

Just prior to being detained, Carrillo allegedly authored several messages in blood on a car, according to NBC News. Authorities did not indicate when the messages were written or whose blood was used.

He allegedly wrote the commonly-used libertarian phrase “Stop the duopoly.” In addition to this, Carrillo also scrawled “boog” and “I became unreasonable” on the hood of the car, NBC News reported

“Boog” is short for “boogaloo,” an extremist anti-government movement with goals to start a second civil war. It’s a term that began as a joking reference to the 1984 film "Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo," a poorly rated sequel about breakdancers.

"Though some still use the phrase as a joke, an increasing number of people employ it with serious intent," The Anti-Defamation League has said in an article about the boogaloo movement. "The boogaloo meme has spread to other movements with anti-government beliefs, primarily minarchists and anarcho-capitalists, which are essentially conservative alternatives to anarchism, as well as a few apparent anarchists."

Members of the boogaloo movement have been seen at recent anti-police brutality protests following the death of George Floyd, often in Hawaiian shirts and heavily armed. 

“I became unreasonable” is a reference to a quote written by anti-government extremist Marvin Heemeyer, who destroyed 13 buildings in Granby, Colorado in June 2004 via a heavily armored and modified bulldozer, NBC News reported. The incident — known as the “Killdozer” incident — resulted in Heemeyer taking his own life.

“Heemeyer is revered in Boogaloo groups,” Megan Squire, a computer science professor at Elon University who tracks online extremism, told NBC News. “Killdozer represents the intersection between the libertarian ideal of small government and the militant fantasy of the Boogaloo. Heemeyer, as Killdozer, meticulously planned a revenge fantasy on some local government entities that he blamed for excessive regulation of his business.”

Carrillo considered himself to be a libertarian and his Facebook was full of memes about the “Boogaloo,” the Marin Independent Journal reported. His friend Justin Ehrhardt speculated to the Mercury News that police brutality during the protests may have set Carrillo off.

“Excessive use of force on unarmed civilians — that was a huge thing for him,” Ehrhardt, who served in the Air Force with Carrillo, said. “It was a mental tipping point for him.”

Carrillo was charged Thursday with 19 felonies, which include murder, attempted murder, explosives charges and carjacking charges. It’s not clear if he has an attorney. He has been a member of a security squadron at Travis Air Force Base for two years. 

Authorities are also investigating a potential link to the killing of a federal officer outside an Oakland courthouse on May 29, the AP reported.