Steven Carrillo is charged with murdering a Santa Cruz County deputy sheriff and a security officer
Steven Carrillo is charged with murdering a Santa Cruz County deputy sheriff and a security officer guarding Oakland’s federal courthouse.
(FRONTLINE via ProPublica)
Civic Life

Steven Carrillo headed to trial after 2020 mountain shootout left Santa Cruz County deputy dead

Steven Carrillo, who is charged with murder in the June 2020 shooting that left Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller dead and multiple officers injured, waived his right to a preliminary trial Monday and instead will go straight to trial later this year.

Ben Lomond resident Steven Carrillo, who is accused of killing a Santa Cruz County sheriff’s deputy and injuring several police officers during a gun battle in the mountains last June, is expected to stand trial later this year.

On Monday, Carrillo waived his right to a preliminary trial during an appearance in a Santa Cruz courtroom, meaning his case will go directly to trial.

Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller
(Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office)

Carrillo, then 32, was involved in a shootout with police near his Ben Lomond residence on June 6, 2020, prosecutors say. Officers were responding to reports of a suspicious vehicle before officials say Carrillo opened fire. The aftermath left Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller dead and multiple officers injured.

Carrillo faces 19 charges including murder, carjacking, assault, multiple accounts of attempted murder, concealing a weapon and constructing explosives. He has also been charged with the murder of a federal official in a shooting outside a federal building in Oakland a few days earlier on May 29, 2020.

Carrillo has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

According to a report by ProPublica, Carrillo was an Air Force sergeant who had become heavily involved in the militia group known as the “Boogaloo Bois.” Carrillo is reported to have become increasingly involved with the group and joined a “highly organized and extremely secretive” faction based in California known as the “Grizzly Scouts.”

A hearing has been set for Oct. 4 at the Superior Court of Alameda County in Dublin; Carrillo remains in custody, without bail, at the Santa Rita Jail in Alameda County.

JAILHOUSE INTERVIEW: In nearly two hours of interviews conducted in Spanish and English, as well as in a letter dictated to his fiancée from the Santa Rita Jail, Carrillo talked with our partners at ProPublica in their joint reporting effort, about the evolution of his anti-government ideology. Read the full story here.