On May 29, 2020, in the wake of the police murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, a Black Lives Matter (BLM) demonstration marched about a half-mile from Oakland’s Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building. Around ten o’clock at night outside the federal building, as the protest continued close by, bullets spewed from a moving vehicle striking security personnel and killing one.
About a week later, on June 6, Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s deputies were engaged in a firefight and attacked with improvised explosive devices (IEDs), claiming the life of one deputy. Shortly after, active duty U.S. Air Force sergeant and self-identified libertarian Steven Carrillo was arrested and charged for the pair of attacks. Five days later a second suspect, Robert Justus Jr., turned himself over to authorities. Both suspects have since pleaded not guilty to the charges.
According to federal authorities, it appears the attacks were launched during the BLM protests to deflect suspicions or trigger a violent response against demonstrators. Investigators also found the word “Boog” scrawled in blood on the stolen vehicle used by Carillo, along with a Hawaiian-themed patch. Authorities later announced that Carillo and Justus were linked to a group known as the Boogaloo bois.
Relatively unknown at the time, the Boogaloo bois were just beginning to drum up media curiosity for their armed presence and eccentric appearance at BLM demonstrations. Boogaloo’s obscurity would later change as the bois’ showing at nationwide protests and media coverage continued.