Deputy Killed in California Ambush by Air Force Sergeant: Officials

June 7, 2020 Updated: June 7, 2020

A Northern California sheriff’s deputy was killed and two law enforcement officers were injured by explosives and gunfire while pursuing a suspect, officials said.

The Air Force confirmed on Sunday that the suspect was an active-duty sergeant at Travis Air Force Base.

Suspect Steven Carrillo, 32, was shot during his arrest and was being treated at the hospital for non-life-threatening injuries. He’s accused of killing Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller, 38, in Santa Cruz County, California, said Santa Cruz County Sheriff Jim Hart.

A second officer from the California Highway Patrol was shot in the hand, Hart said.

Gutzwiller “was a beloved figure here at the sheriff’s office,” Hart said. “Damon showed up today to do his job, to keep this community safe, and his life was taken needlessly,” reported The Associated Press.

Gov. Gavin Newsom extended condolences to Gutzwiller’s family, ordering flags at the Capitol to be flown at half-staff.

“He will be remembered as a hero who devoted his life to protecting the community and as a loving husband and father,” Newsom said in a statement. “Jennifer and I extend our heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and coworkers of Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Sergeant Damon Gutzwiller, who was tragically killed while on duty today,” he added.

A spokesperson for the Travis Air Force Base said Carrillo was a member of the 60th Security Forces Squadron, arriving at the base in June 2018. Carrillo’s wife Monika Leigh Scott Carrillo was found dead in an off-base hotel in May 2018 and was later ruled a suicide.

Deputies responded to a 911 call over reports of a suspicious van, with the caller saying there were guns and bomb-making devices inside, officials said.

When sheriff’s officials arrived, the van pulled away before going down a driveway at Carrillo’s home. Deputies were later ambushed with gunfire or shrapnel, sheriff’s officials said.

In the chaos, Gutzwiller was injured and later died inside a hospital, said officials.

On Sunday, the FBI said it is investigating Carrillo’s van and a similar vehicle used in the fatal shooting of a federal protective services officer, David Underwood, and the wounding of a second officer during unrest on May 29 following George Floyd protests.

“The investigation into the incident in Ben Lomond, Calif. is ongoing,” the FBI said in a statement. “We are working with the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Department to determine a possible motive and/or links to other crimes committed in the Bay Area, to include the shooting of the FPS officers in Oakland.”