One sheriff’s deputy is dead, another was severely injured, and a third officer was shot during what’s being called an “ambush” attack in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller, 38, was killed by an improvised explosive device after he and two other officers pursued a man suspected of having guns and bomb-making materials inside it. The deputies had responded to a 911 call about the suspicious van, but when they arrived, the van drove away. Officers pursued the suspect, 38-year-old Steven Carrillo, who drove down a driveway at his home and ambushed the deputies with guns and explosives when they got out of their vehicles, The Associated Press reported. Carrillo is reportedly an active-duty U.S. Air Force sergeant.
Gutzwiller was killed during the attack in Ben Lomond, described by the AP as “an unincorporated area near Santa Cruz.” An emotional Santa Cruz County Sheriff Jim Hart announced Gutzwiller’s death on Sunday, calling him “a beloved figure here at the sheriff’s office.”
“Sergeant Damon Gutzwiller was shot and taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead,” Hart said. “Another deputy was either shot or struck by shrapnel and struck by a car as the suspect fled the property. We are hopeful the deputy will recover.”
“Damon showed up today to do his job, to keep this community safe, and his life was taken needlessly,” Hart added.
Carrillo, the suspect, was shot after he tried to carjack a different vehicle and treated for non-life-threatening injuries. Hart said the suspect would be charged with first-degree murder.
The second injured deputy, who has not been named, was “wounded by gunfire or shrapnel and struck by a vehicle as the suspect fled,” the AP reported.
A California Highway Patrol officer was also injured during the attack, receiving a gunshot wound to the hand.
KPIX reported that Gutzwiller “had been with the [Sheriff’s] department since 2006 and was married with a small child and a second child on the way.”
“Damon will be deeply missed,” Hart said, according to the outlet. “He was a beloved figure with the sheriff’s department.”
On Sunday, the AP reported that the FBI is looking into the incident and another to see if there are any links.
“The FBI office in San Francisco confirmed Sunday its investigators were working with the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Department to determine a possible motive and links to other crimes committed in the San Francisco Bay Area, including the attack that killed a Federal Protective Service officer and critically wounded another officer on May 29. Both involved shooters in a van,” the AP reported.
The second attack killed Federal Protective Service officer Dave Patrick Underwood, 53, and critically wounded a second officer.
The Daily Wire, headed by bestselling author and popular podcast host Ben Shapiro, is a leading provider of conservative news, cutting through the mainstream media’s rhetoric to provide readers the most important, relevant, and engaging stories of the day. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member.