A man accused of killing two police officers and injuring several others in separate California shootings in 2020 was part of an extremist militia called the Grizzly Scouts, which allegedly plotted a “war” against police officers and sought ways to stir violence between Antifa and police, the Santa Cruz Sentinel reported.
Air Force Sgt. Steven Carrillo, accused in 2 murders, belonged to militia plotting ‘war’ against cops: reporthttps://t.co/5dJeTNjVQY
— Fox News (@FoxNews) June 8, 2021
EOW 6/6/2020 Santa Cruz lost a hero. Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller was killed in the line of duty. SCPD will always have his family, friends & colleagues in our thoughts & prayers.
We’ll #NeverForget Damon as a father, son, brother, friend & hero. Rest in Peace. We’ll hold the line. pic.twitter.com/ucn7uwF9RS
— Santa Cruz Police (@SantaCruzPolice) June 6, 2021
Prosecutors said that Steven Carrillo, who is alleged to have shot and killed Federal Protective Service Officer Dave Patrick Underwood in May 2020 and Santa Cruz Sheriff Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller days later, was part of an anti-government organization, according to court documents reviewed by the Santa Cruz Sentinel. (RELATED: Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Deputy Killed In Alleged Ambush By Man With A Stockpile Of Bombs)
Prosecutors believe Carrillo was not a lone actor but rather part of the Grizzly Scouts group, which was preparing for more deadly ambushes on law enforcement, according to The Associated Press (AP). The Grizzly Scouts group is linked to the nationwide militia called the “Boogaloo,” but appears to plot its activities much more carefully than the loosely-affiliated “Boogaloo” group, according to the Santa Cruz Sentinel.
Four other alleged Grizzly Scouts members are accused of destroying evidence related to the slayings of both law enforcement officers in 2020. Jessie Alexander Rush, 29; Robert Jesus Blancas, 33; Simon Sage Ybarra, 23; and Kenny Matthew Miksch, 21, were indicted on charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice, according to The AP.
The Grizzly Scouts group is believed to have roughly 25 members and has allegedly conducted training near Rush’s home, according to the Santa Cruz Sentinel. Prosecutors say that in one document called “Operations Order,” the militia referred to law enforcement as “enemy forces” and detailed the possibility of taking officers prisoner.
“POWs will be searched for intel and gear, interrogated, stripped naked, blindfolded, driven away and released into the wilderness blindfolded with hands bound,” the filings allege, according to the Santa Cruz Sentinel.
The court filings were part of a failed attempt to keep the four defendants in jail before trials, but a federal magistrate determined three of the defendants were neither a danger to the community nor flight risks, according to The AP.
WATCH: Testimony from Angela Underwood Jacobs, whose brother Dave Patrick Underwood was shot and killed while he was on police duty for protests in Oakland — “Fear, hatred, ignorance and blind violence snatched the life of my brother” https://t.co/bcSZeCE63F pic.twitter.com/yoNkpxEojT
— CBS News (@CBSNews) June 10, 2020
Days before Underwood was killed, Carrillo allegedly told Ybarra that he wanted to carry out a “cartel style” attack. The next day, the two allegedly met inside Carillo’s van and discussed while assembling an assault rifle, according to the Santa Cruz Sentinel.
Two days after the meeting, Carrillo met with Robert Justus, who is allegedly linked to the “Boogaloo” group, and opened fire at the Ron Dellums Federal Building, killing Underwood, according to Santa Cruz Sentinel. (RELATED: Self-Proclaimed ‘Boogaloo Bois’ Charged With Conspiracy And Attempting To Provide Material Support To A Foreign Terrorist Group)
“Snipe some you know what’s,” Carrillo allegedly said in a text message to Ybarra before traveling to Oakland, where the shooting took place, according to the Santa Cruz Sentinel.
Three days after Underwood was killed, members of the Grizzly Scouts group allegedly talked about the possibility that former President Donald Trump would invoke the Insurrection Act. At the time, civil unrest had erupted across the country following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis while in the custody of the police.
“That ^^^ will be our sign,” Rush allegedly texted the other members. “That effectively means the federal gov has declared war on things they’re afraid of.”
Rush and Carrillo both had military experience, the Santa Cruz Sentinel reported. Rush allegedly told Ybarra that he was going to use the “100s of thousands of dollars” the government spent to train him.
In early June, as Antifa-aligned rioters looted and vandalized cities across the country, the Grizzly Scouts group allegedly discussed ways to spark more violence between Antifa and police, with one member presenting the possibility that he disguise himself as an Antifa member.
“It’s the tactically sound option,” Blancas allegedly told other militia members. “Them f—ing each other up only helps us.”
Carrillo faces the death penalty for Gutzwiller’s death. He pleaded not guilty in August to the murder charges.