A man charged yesterday with the ambush killing of a police officer also appears to have scrawled a reference in blood to a second Civil War.
On the hood of a car at the scene of Steven Carrillo’s arrest, witnesses took photos of phrases the alleged killer had apparently written, including the term “Boog.”
Given the context, “Boog” is likely short for “Boogaloo,” which in recent years has been adopted by extremists on the internet as shorthand for an armed conflict against the government.
NBC News reported Carrillo’s purported Boogaloo reference Thursday after local outlet KRON4 published a witness’s photos of the scene earlier this week.
Carrillo was charged with 19 felonies Thursday including of murder, attempted murder, various explosives charges, carjacking and other offenses. The active duty Air Force staff sergeant, who was part of an elite security force at Travis Air Force Base, is set to be arraigned Friday.
According to police, they were first alerted to Carrillo when someone reported a suspicious parked van in which guns and bomb-making materials were visible. Deputies said they caught up with the vehicle and followed it to Ben Lomond, a mountainous area north of Santa Cruz where Carrillo had been living with his father.
Carrillo ambushed deputies, police say, shooting at them and throwing explosives. Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller was allegedly killed by Carrillo in the exchange and another deputy was critically wounded.
The spree ended, according to authorities, when Carrillo attempted to carjack a Ben Lomond resident who managed to tackle Carrillo to the ground.
Though not currently reflected in the charges against Carrillo, he is also believed to be the gunman who shot dead a Federal Protective Services officer, Dave Patrick Underwood, in Oakland in late May, The Mercury News reported, citing an unnamed law enforcement source. The FBI has acknowledged it is investigating whether Carrillo can be linked to the Oakland drive-by killing, which also left another federal officer wounded.
Other phrases written in blood at the scene of Carrillo’s arrest may paint a picture of his worldview: One, “end the duopoly,” is commonly used by supporters of political parties other than the Democratic and Republican parties.
“I became unreasonable,” another phrase spotted at the scene and reported by NBC News, is a reference to a quote from Marvin Heemeyer, a folk figure of sorts in the Boogaloo movement who in 2004 killed himself after going on a rampage.
Heemeyer, angry about disputes with his neighbors and local government officials, used a heavily armored modified bulldozer to destroy the town hall, the former mayor’s home and several other buildings. The vehicle became known as “Killdozer” and, over the years, Heemeyer’s bizarre rampage went from the Discovery Channel fodder to inspiration for further attacks.
The “Boogaloo” reference is associated with a recent trend in which armed extremists carry out violence against authorities or government institutions, such as power stations and courthouses, in an attempt to sow violent insurrection.
The origin of the term is a bit convoluted, and starts with the movie “Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo.” The film, which followed 1984’s “Breakin’,” became a reference for shoddy sequels. And on 4chan and other online communities, “Boogaloo” eventually evolved into a meme about a second Civil War.
In recent years, violent extremists have used the word to refer to taking up arms against the state. A derivation, “Big Luau,” explains why many followers of the movement, sarcastically or not, wear Hawaiian shirts to protests.
In Nevada in late May, three men with military backgrounds were arrested and accused of planning attacks in hopes of fomenting an armed rebellion. Prosecutors say the men were affiliated with the Boogaloo movement and wanted to capitalize on the ongoing protests against racism and police brutality in light of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Online, scores of Boogaloo-focused groups add to an ecosystem of extremist content, some of it explicitly affiliated with neo-Nazis and white nationalists.
Carrrillo’s politics aren’t fully known: NBC News reported that his since-removed Facebook presence reflected support for a libertarian presidential candidate as well as anti-police and pro-gun sentiments. Once of his last Facebook posts, according to the report, was on a group called “A Gun Page for Poors Who Know They Are Poors,” NBC News reported. It showed the video of Buffalo police officers shoving the 75-year-old peace activist Martin Gugino.
A former friend of Carrillo’s, Justin Ehrhardt, told The Mercury News that Carrillo had posted “Boogaloo” memes on Facebook and considered himself a libertarian.
“Excessive use of force on unarmed civilians — that was a huge thing for him,” Ehrhardt said. “It was a mental tipping point for him.”
KRON4 reported, based on video of Carrillo’s arrest, that the alleged killer screamed “stop the duality” and, referring to the deputies arresting him, “This is why I’m sick of these god d**n police. This is what I’m sick of.”