Santa Cruz County Resident Pleads Guilty To Murder And Attempted Murder After Drive-By Shooting At Federal Courthouse

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

SAN FRANCISCO – Steven Carrillo pleaded guilty today to first degree murder and attempted murder in connection with the May 29, 2020, drive-by shooting at the Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Oakland, Calif., an event that resulted in the death of Protective Services Officer Dave Patrick Underwood and the wounding of a second security contractor, announced Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Tatum King, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge Craig D. Fair, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) San Francisco Field Division Special Agent in Charge Patrick T. Gorman. The plea was received by the Hon. Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, United States District Judge.

In connection with today’s proceedings, Carrillo, 33, of Ben Lomond, Calif., signed a written agreement that described many of the facts leading up the shooting.  According to the plea agreement, Carrillo admitted that he aligned himself with an anti-government movement and wanted to carry out violent acts against federal law enforcement officers.  Carrillo admitted that in the months before the shooting, he regularly discussed and encouraged violence against law enforcement; further, in the days before the shooting, he posted several messages on Facebook related to his goals.  For example, on May 28, he posted on Facebook, “Anyone down to boog?” and on May 29, he posted “I just wanna perpetuate the hate and violence towards the governments attack dogs” and “[t]his is a great time to perpetuate the destruction of the government.”  Carrillo also posted photographs and videos to Snapchat depicting anti-government paraphernalia and firearms.

In the plea agreement, Carrillo admits his role in the shooting.  According to the agreement, on May 29, 2020, Carrillo commented on Facebook, “Its kicking off now and if its not kicking off in your hood then start it. Show them the targets.”  He also wrote, in reference to the ongoing protests over the killing of George Floyd, “Go to the riots and support our own cause. Show them the real targets. Use their anger to fuel our fire. Think outside the box. We have mobs of angry people to use to our advantage.”  He then agreed to meet another individual at the San Leandro BART station and arrived in a white Ford van.  Carrillo brought with him firearms and incendiary devices.  Carrillo acknowledged that he got into the van and the other individual drove as they surveilled the protest, the federal building, the courthouse, and the surrounding area. At approximately 9:44 p.m., with the other individual driving the van, Carrillo admitted he opened the rear passenger-side sliding door and shot approximately 19 rounds at the officers.

Prior to entering his guilty pleas, Carrillo appeared before the Hon. Thomas S. Hixson, United States Magistrate Judge, for arraignment on a superseding information which charged Carrillo with one count of use of a firearm causing death, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(j), and one count of attempted murder of a person of  assisting an officer or employee of the United States Government, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1114(1), 1114(3), and 2.  A federal grand jury had previously indicted Carrillo for his role in the Oakland courthouse murder and attempted murder.

On January 31, 2022, the government filed a notice of intent not to seek the death penalty.  In addition, Carrillo agreed and recommended to the court that a reasonable and appropriate disposition of this case would be 41 years in prison and a lifetime term of supervised release.  Judge Gonzalez Rogers received the plea agreement and scheduled further proceedings to determine whether to accept it.

The United States Attorney’s Office’s Organized Crime Strike Force is prosecuting this case with assistance from the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.  The case is being investigated by the FBI, the ATF, the FPS, and the U.S. Marshal Service with assistance from the Oakland Police Department and the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office.