A heavily-armed, active-duty Air Staff Sergeant who was arrested in the “ambush” murder of a California sheriff’s assistant was arrested by A resident who rejected his weapons and a pipe bomb, detaining the suspect until the arrival of neighbors and police, authorities said Monday.
The dramatic arrest took place on Saturday after the suspect, Staff Sergeant. Steven Carrillo allegedly shot and killed the Santa Cruz county sergeant. Damon Gutzwiller, 38, said Santa Cruz County Sheriff Jim Hart.
Another MP was shot and injured by bus shrapnel from a bomb before Carrillo ran over him while fleeing, Hart said. A third law enforcement officer, a member of the California Highway Patrol, was shot in the hand, he said.
The second deputy suffered “significant internal trauma” from a bullet which hit his tactical vest and possible leg injury but is in stable condition, said Hart.
The FBI is also investigating a possible connection between the Saturday incident and the May 29 murder of a federal officer in Oakland. Authorities said the suspect who shot the officer, Dave Patrick Underwood, was in a white van. Carrillo is said to have opened fire on officers on Saturday after someone called 911 about a suspicious white van in the Santa Cruz Mountains that had rifles and bomb-making equipment inside.
Let our news respond to your inbox. The news and stories that matter, delivered in the morning on weekdays.
When the officers found the van, the driver took off. Authorities followed him to an alley in the isolated community of Ben Lomond, in an unincorporated municipality in the county of Santa Cruz. There, Hart said, Carrillo ambushed the police before fleeing the scene.
As MPs searched the area, Carrillo escaped into the backyard of a house with an AR-15 style assault rifle slung over the shoulder. When a resident confronted him, asking why he was there, Carrillo allegedly demanded his car keys.
Hart said the resident, who asked not to be identified, handed over his keys to Carrillo and then handed him over as the suspect began to leave. When the rifle “fell,” Hart said, Carrillo reportedly tried to light a pipe bomb in his pocket while the man held it.
“He managed to drop it from his hand,” said Hart.
Carrillo then allegedly reached his belt for a pistol, which the resident also knocked down.
At that time, other neighbors had arrived and were able to detain the suspect until the authorities arrived. Video footage of the scene showed two men holding him on the ground. An assault rifle could be seen nearby.
We can hear the woman who shot the video, Clara Ricabal, screaming at the police that the men had detained the suspect. She said the half-minute delay “looked like forever.”
“It was a remarkable, remarkable and heroic thing the resident did,” said Hart, adding that he would commend him.
“This guy could have done a lot more damage,” he said.
Carrillo is the team leader of a specialized Air Force unit at 60 Security Forces Squadron. He was stationed at Travis Air Force Base, northeast of San Francisco Bay, in June 2018.
Carrillo’s wife, who was also part of the Air Force, died by suicide in South Carolina in 2018. John Bennett, special agent in charge of the FBI office in San Francisco, said that Carrillo was not a suspect in his death, which he said was the subject of an air force investigation.
Santa Cruz district attorney Jeffrey Rosell said Carrillo would be charged on Friday. Hart has said he will face murder charges.