Ex-Air Force sergeant to plead guilty in killing of federal security officer in Oakland

This booking photo from the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office shows Steven Carrillo on June 7, 2020. Photo: Santa Cruz Sheriff's Office

A former U.S. Air Force sergeant plans to change his not guilty plea in the fatal shooting of a federal security officer in Oakland during 2020 protests against police brutality, court records filed Monday showed.

Steven Carrillo, 33, pleaded not guilty in July 2020 in the killing of David Patrick Underwood, who was shot on May 29, 2020, while he stood in a guard shack in front of a federal building in Oakland.

Court records showed Carrillo, of Santa Cruz, is scheduled to change his plea Friday at a federal court in San Francisco. His attorney, James Thomson, did not immediately return an email Monday from The Associated Press seeking comment

On Jan. 31, federal prosecutors agreed to not seek the death penalty.

Prosecutors say Carrillo had ties to the "boogaloo" movement, a concept embraced by a loose network of gun enthusiasts and militia-style extremists. The group started in alt-right culture on the internet with the belief that there is an impending civil war, according to experts.

Authorities accused Carrillo of fatally shooting Underwood from a white van after developing a plot with Robert Alvin Justus Jr., of Millbrae. The pair is accused of driving to Oakland and taking advantage of the distraction afforded by protesters marching through the city’s downtown. Justus drove the van, authorities said.

A week after the shooting in Oakland, Carrillo allegedly ambushed sheriff’s deputies in Santa Cruz County who were responding to a report of a van containing firearms and bomb-making materials. Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller, 38, was killed and several other law enforcement officials were wounded, according to authorities and court records.

Prosecutors in Santa Cruz charged Carrillo with a slew of felonies, including murder and attempted murder in connection to that killing.

Carrillo pleaded not guilty to Gutzwiller’s killing.