The U.S. Department of Justice on Tuesday announced criminal charges against two men in the shooting death of Pat Underwood, a protective security officer who was guarding the Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building in Oakland, Calif. Underwood was keeping the building safe on May 29 during protests over the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd. Then a white van pulled up and a passenger opened fire.
Federal prosecutors say Steven Carrillo, an Air Force Sergeant, was the gunman and that Robert Alvin Justus Jr. was the driver. Carrillo is charged with murder and attempted murder. Justus is charged with aiding and abetting.
Court documents filed in both cases allege the men had links to the far-right “Boogaloo” movement.
“When law enforcement personnel searched [Carrillo’s] 1997 van, they also located a ballistic vest. The vest had a patch on it, which is shown in the photograph below,” the documents in Carrillo’s case state. “I am informed that the symbols on the patch, including an igloo and a Hawaiian-style print, are associated with the ‘Boogaloo’ movement,” the complaining FBI special agent said.
There are two white vans in the case. The one believed to have been used in the killing is a white 1992 van. The 1997 van referenced above was registered to Carrillo, but it “does not closely resemble” the van believed to have been used in the actual shooting.
The documents also say Carrillo “appears to have used his own blood to write . . . ‘BOOG,’ ‘I became unreasonable,’ and ‘stop the duopoly'” on the hood of a Toyota Camry he is believed to have carjacked.
Furthermore, Carrillo and Justus are accused of plotting their alleged murderous attack in a Facebook group. Carrillo allegedly used the phrase “soup bois” to refer to law enforcement officers from so-called “alphabet soup” agencies; Justus is said to have used the phrase “lets [sic] boogie.” “I believe that Justus’ response ‘let’s boogie’ is a statement of agreement and affirmation to engage in attacks on law enforcement personnel in accordance with Boogaloo ideology,” the complaining special agent said in court documents.
Additionally, per the documents, the special agent said:
Based on my experience and information I have learned in the course of this investigation, I believe that “Boogaloo” is a term used by extremists to reference a violent uprising or impending civil war in the United States. I am aware that the Boogaloo movement is not a defined group, and I believe that, in general, followers of the Boogaloo ideology may identify as militia and share a narrative of inciting a violent uprising against perceived government tyranny.
Near where Carrillo was arrested, authorities recovered “an AR-15-style rifle” which “appears to be a Privately Made Firearm (PMF) with no manufacturer’s markings.” PMFs are sometimes referred to as “ghost guns.” Authorities “classified [it] as a machinegun” which “fired two or three round bursts when the trigger was released.”
The FBI narrowed in on Justus after learning he was connected to Carrillo. Justus was under FBI surveillance by June 11. On that date, he and his parents drove to the federal building in San Francisco and asked to speak to the FBI. Once inside, Justus’s “mother said that they wanted to provide the FBI with information about the white van in Oakland,” and Justus agreed to sit down with agents. Justus then attempted to convince authorities he was the hero in the situation. Again, per court documents in Carrillo’s case:
Justus said he did not want to participate in the murder, but that he felt that he had to participate because he was trapped in the van with CARRILLO. An interviewing agent pointed out to Justus that he had gotten out of the van and walked around alone before the murder took place, and he conceivably could have left at any time. Justus responded that he stayed with CARRILLO because Justus was trying to think of ways to talk CARRILLO out of his plan. Justus said CARRILLO expressed an interest multiple times in shooting a helicopter, police officers, and civilians, but that Justus talked him out of it. They eventually parked near the Guard Post. As Justus drove the white van away from the Guard Post, CARRILLO opened the passenger-side sliding door and began shooting. As they drove away, CARRILLO said words to the effect of “did you see how they fucking fell.” Justus described CARRILLO being excited and thrilled after the shooting.
Carrillo is separately accused of murdering Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Deputy Damon Gutzwiller as part of a failed getaway.
Here’s how the FBI explained its lack of trust in Justus’s story:
JUSTUS did not come forward to report his involvement with Carrillo in the Oakland homicide until after the murder of the SCSO deputy and arrest of Carrillo. I therefore believe JUSTUS’ statement to the FBI was a false exculpatory narrative carefully crafted to fit what JUSTUS believed to be the state of the evidence.
[Image of Carrillo via the Santa Cruz County, Calif. Sheriff’s Office. Image of Justus via a DMV photo contained in federal court documents]
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]