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Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office reacts to Steven Carrillo pleading guilty

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, Calif. (KION-TV) UPDATE MAY 16, 2022, at 10:21 a.m.-- A man pleaded guilty to the murder of Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller.

KION spoke to the Sheriff's Office to get their feelings on Carillo's plea for the murder of one of their own.

"For me, it was really mixed emotions sitting in that courtroom. It was a bittersweet feeling of I'm glad it's over. I'm glad that this aspect of getting through this terrible terrible event is over and done with but for some other reason there were other feelings too," said Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office Sheriff Jim Hart. I thought about it last night and I think that the best outcome that we were going to get was life without the possibility of parole in this county and in the state. We haven't done a death penalty case in many many years even though I think he's deserving of that."

Carillo is scheduled to be sentenced on August 26.


Steven Carrillo pleads guilty to murder of Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller

A man responsible for the murder of a Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller on Monday in an Alameda County courtroom.

Steven Carillo entered a guilty plea to 9 felony and enhancement charges. His sentencing will be held on August 26 and he faces life in prison without the possibility of parole, according to Santa Cruz County District Attorney Jeff Rosell.

Carillo admitted to the murder of Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller and attempted murder of four other law enforcement officers as well as one civilian. He said he was trying to avoid capture by law enforcement for the murder of federal officer David Underwood the week before murdering Sgt. Gutzwiller.

READ MORE: Ex-Air Force sergeant gets 41 years for murder of security guard outside Oakland courthouse

Carillo also admitted in court to having ties with Grizzly Scouts, a militia group that espoused the Boogaloo ideology. The Boogaloo movement revolves around the desire for a violent overthrow of the government and starting a second civil war which resulted in violent attacks on law enforcement across the country, said Rosell.

"Our hearts go out to all Santa Cruz County law enforcement officers affected by the horrific events on June 6, 2020, in particular the Gutzwiller family. Although nothing can bring Sgt. DamonGutzwiller
back. We hope that today can bring some measure of justice for everyone touched by this tragedy. The plea today, to life in prison without the possibility of parole, will ensure that the defendant will spend the rest of his life in prison where he belongs."

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Ricardo Tovar

Assignment/ Web Manager for KION News Channel 5/46 and Telemundo 23


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