The Atlantic

The Boogaloo Tipping Point

What happens when a meme becomes a terrorist movement?
Source: Getty

Updated at 1:36 p.m. ET on July 13, 2020.

On May 29, two federal security officers guarding a courthouse in Oakland, California, were ambushed by machine-gun fire as elsewhere in the city demonstrators marched peacefully to protest the killing of George Floyd. One of the guards, David Patrick Underwood, died as a result of the attack, and the other was wounded. For days, conservative news broadcasters pinned the blame on “antifa,” the loosely affiliated group of anti-fascist anarchists known to attack property and far-right demonstrators at protests. But the alleged culprit, apprehended a week later, turned out to be a 32-year-old Air Force sergeant named Steven Carrillo, the head of a squadron called the Phoenix Ravens, which guards military installations from terrorist attacks.

According to prosecutors, Carrillo and an accomplice, 30-year-old Robert A. Justus Jr., were part of the “boogaloo” movement, a patchwork of right-leaning anti-government libertarians, Second Amendment advocates, and gun enthusiasts all preparing for another American civil war.

Authorities say that when they went to apprehend Carrillo at his residence, he attacked them with pipe bombs, killing a police sergeant named Damon , along with various boogaloo slogans, in his own blood on the hood of a car.

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