Active-duty Air Force Sergeant, Steven Carrillo is accused of killing a California sheriff’s deputy in an ambush-style attack near Santa Cruz.
Carrillo has been arrested for the fatal shooting of Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller of the Santa Cruz county sheriff’s department and wounding two other officers.
The FBI is also investigating if Carrillo has links to the killing of the federal officer who was shot outside the US courthouse in Oakland last week.
Carrillo, 32, was a team leader for the Phoenix Ravens, an elite security force at Travis air force base, 50 miles (81km) north-east of San Francisco, as part of the 60th security forces squadron. The Phoenix Ravens are tasked with protecting aircraft and crews from assaults on airfields “where security is unknown or additional security is needed to counter local threats”, according to the air force.
Santa Cruz Sheriff Jim Hart called Carrillo “a dangerous man intent on bringing harm to police officers.”
"I want to talk a little about Steven Carrillo, I don't even want to say his name again," Hart told reporters at a Monday afternoon news conference. "It's the last time you are going to hear me say it. This guy was active Air Force. He was dangerous and he was an angry man intent on bringing harm to police officers. He murdered Sergeant (Damon) Gutzwiller. He injured another deputy."
"This guy (Carrillo) went into the backyard of a local resident and the local resident confronted him and wanted to know what he was doing on his property," Hart said. "The suspect told him that — actually he had an AR-15 slung, he was carrying an AR. He told the resident he wanted his car keys. The resident very calmly went into his house, obtained a key and came back out and handed it to him."
"As the suspect turned around, the resident tackled him and the AR-15 fell away and the resident took this guy to the ground. At that time the suspect reached into his pocket and pulled out a pipe bomb and tried to ignite a pipe bomb while being held down."
"This resident was able to knock the pipe bomb out of his hand and then the suspect reached into his waistband and pulled out a pistol. There was a wrestling match over the pistol. The resident was able to knock the pistol out of his hand, detain this guy. Multiple other community members from Ben Lomond jumped on this guy and held him until our deputies sheriffs were able to get there and take him into custody."
"It was a remarkable, remarkable, heroic thing that that resident did. He does not want to be named. He doesn't want any recognition ... This guy could have done a lot more damage in our community had that resident not taken the action that he did."
Hart said forensic teams, including the FBI, have found bomb-making equipment, pipe bombs, multiple firearms and a large amount of ammunition at the rural crime scene nestled in the heavily-wooded and rural Santa Cruz mountain community of Ben Lomond.
Carrillo is expected to be charged with first-degree murder.