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Santa Cruz County resident who helped to detain suspect in murder of Sgt. Gutzwiller awarded

civilian award sam gutzwiller
Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, Calif. (KION) The Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office has awarded a resident who helped law enforcement detain the suspect accused of killing Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller with the Civilian Distinguished Service Medal.

On June 6, the Sheriff's Office said deputies were ambushed in Ben Lomond by the suspect, identified as suspected Boogalloo member Steven Carrillo, and Gutzwiller was killed in that ambush. Sam, the man who helped law enforcement, lived nearby and heard the commotion, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Carrillo reportedly tried to leave the area by carjacking one person and attempting to carjack several others. Eventually, the Sheriff's Office said Carrillo went into Sam's backyard. He confronted Carrillo, who allegedly pulled out an AR 15 and told Sam to give him his car keys.

He gave Carrillo the keys, but when he turned around, the Sheriff's Office said Sam tackled him to the ground and knocked the gun away from him.

After that, the Sheriff's Office said Carrillo tried to light a pipe bomb, which Sam was able to wrestle away, and then he pulled a loaded handgun from his waistband, but again, Sam was able to get the weapon away from him.

Neighbors heard the fight and helped to detain the suspect until law enforcement arrived to arrest him.

“Without a doubt Sam’s actions on this day saved lives of Police Officers and also community members. For his heroic actions Sam is being presented with the Sheriff’s Office Civilian Distinguished Service Medal which is the highest civilian honor given by the Sheriff’s Office,“ said Sheriff Hart.

Carrillo is also facing charges for the death of a federal officer in Oakland that happened shortly before the ambush in Ben Lomond. Several criminal complaints have linked him to other suspected Boogaloo movement members.

Santa Cruz County / Top Stories

Avery Johnson

Avery Johnson is the Digital Content Director at KION News Channel 5/46.

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