Federal agents in the Bay Area are scrambling to figure out whether the seemingly random slaying of a sheriff’s deputy in an unincorporated part of Santa Cruz might be linked to the fatal shooting of a pair of federal agents in Oakland late last month, as well as a handful of other crimes, the LA Times reports.
On Saturday, Santa Cruz sheriff’s Deputy Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller, 38, was shot and killed in Ben Lomond, an unincorporated area near Santa Cruz. While pursuing a suspect, Gutzwiller and other officers, several of whom were also wounded, were ambushed by gunfire and explosives.
At the scene, authorities arrested and booked Steven Carrillo, a Sergeant on active duty at the nearby Travis Air Force Base.
Carrillo, 32, was a member of the 60th Security Forces Squadron, according to a Travis Air Force Base spokesman. And it also appears he might be the killer of several law enforcement officers during what appears to have been a multi-day spree.
Carrillo was repeatedly shot while being taken into custody and is reportedly in serious condition. It’s unclear whether the explosives found in his car were intended to be used during a broader attack. The FBI says it is looking into Carrillo’s possible involvement in several other crimes last month, including an attack on two Federal Protective Service agents in Oakland last month that left one dead, and one critically injured.
It’s unclear whether Carrillo was acting alone, or if he might have been part of some kind of radical sleeper cell intent on sowing chaos during the protests. Carrillo arrived in the area in June 2018 when he transferred to Travis Air Force Base. One month earlier, his wife died from what police determined to be a suicide. Monika Leigh Scott Carrillo, who was also in the Air Force, was found dead in May 2018 while stationed in South Carolina.
The two had been married for nine years, and had two children together. Carrillo will be charged with murder, assault with a deadly weapon and several other charges.
Dozens gathered outside the sheriff’s office Saturday afternoon to pay tribute to Gutzwiller. His wife and child stood next to a photo of him and bouquets of flowers.
Gutzwiller’s colleagues described him as unusually patient, always smiling and cracking jokes, with a self-deprecating sense of humor. Hart said he reviewed Gutzwiller’s personnel file last night, and there hadn’t been a single complaint from the public against him in his 14 years in the department.
A Santa Cruz native, Gutzwiller’s colleagues say he was compassionate and a major asset to law enforcement in the area, thanks to his close links to the community and a reputation as a good cop. He was a loving husband and father.
And yet, these killings, like other killings of law enforcement and innocent bystanders over the past 2 weeks, have gone almost completely ignored by the mainstream media.
If there was a domestic terrorist roaming around NorCal shooting cops, don’t you think, dear reader, that the public might want to hear about it?