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Fmr. Air Force sergeant sentenced to 41 years for killing federal court officer

Steven Carrillo, 32, listens to court proceedings during a hearing at the East County Hall of Justice in Dublin, Calif. (Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group/TNS)

A former Air Force sergeant was sentenced Friday to 41 years in prison for killing a federal officer in 2020 drive-by shooting in Oakland.

Steven Carrillo, 34, had pleaded guilty earlier this year for his killing of Federal Protective Services Officer Patrick Underwood in the May 2020 attack. In agreeing to the plea deal, Carrillo had to admit not just to murdering Underwood but to aligning with anti-government groups, plotting attacks, and promoting anti-police violence on Facebook. He was part of the “Boogaloo” movement, a loosely organized network in the U.S. whose adherents say they are preparing for an impending civil war.

Before his arrest, Carrillo was stationed at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield. He was assigned to an anti-terrorist squadron.

Carrillo was arrested a week after Underwood’s killing, in Ben Lomond, after allegedly ambushing and murdering Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller, in a shooting that injured three other officers. Police allege he lobbed pipe bombs and opened fire on the officers using the same gun he used to kill Underwood.

In a rare move for federal court, prosecutors and the defense already had agreed to the sentence Carrillo should face: 41 years. But U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers expressed skepticism at a February hearing that 41 years was “sufficient” for Carrillo’s crimes and warned that it was not clear whether she would accept the recommendation at Friday’s hearing.

After tearful testimony by Underwood’s family, presentations by the prosecutors and defense attorneys and a speech by the judge directed at the family, Gonzalez Rogers accepted the deal that will send Carrillo behind bars for 41 years. He is still facing pending state murder charges for killing Gutzwiller.

“I felt like Carrillo came like a thief in the night and just stole someone from our family that we loved and cherished and we miss dearly,” said Underwood’s cousin, Tammy Evans. “When you say sufficient, I hear you but I don’t hear you, no amount of time will ever be sufficient for the amount of love we lost.”

Patrick Underwood’s sister, Angela Underwood Jacobs, spoke of how, almost exactly two years after he was shot and killed, she often thinks of how Patrick Underwood spent his last moments.

“I could only think of Pat laying on the cold hard cement, bleeding out from his neck and torso,” Underwood Jacobs said tearfully. “Did he know he was dying? Did he think of his mother, father, brother and sister? How did he feel as he took his last breaths? Was he content with a life well lived, or was he terrified?”

Turning her words to Carrillo directly, she continued: “Your wounds of dishonor are self-inflicted. You have failed at being human.”

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