A Turlock man has been identified as the leader of a militia that sought to overthrow the government and attack law enforcement.
Jessie Alexander Rush, 29, of Turlock was the leader of the Grizzly Scouts and held trainings with the group near his Turlock home, according to court documents filed by federal prosecutors and first reported by the Santa Cruz Sentinel.
Rush was indicted by a federal grand jury in April with three other members of the militia in connection with a scheme to obstruct justice and destroy records to thwart the investigation and proceedings involving the fatal shootings of a Federal Protective Service Officer and a Santa Cruz Sheriff's deputy. The indictment charges Rush with an additional count of obstruction of official proceedings.
The indictment alleges that Rush, Robert Jesus Blancas, 33, a transient resident of the Bay Area; Simon Sage Ybarra, 23, a resident of Los Gatos; and Kenny Matthew Miksch, 21, a resident of San Lorenzo, were members of the “1st Detachment, 1st California Grizzly Scouts” (Grizzly Scouts), a militia group based in Northern California. Beginning in April 2020, the Grizzly Scouts connected via a Facebook group and periodically met in person for firearms training and other purposes. The Facebook group’s description stated, “they say the west won’t boog,” a reference to the “boogaloo” movement, and that “were [sic] here to gather likeminded Californians who can network and establish local goon squads.” As alleged in the indictment, “boogaloo” is a term sometimes used by certain militia extremists to reference a politically motivated civil war or uprising against the government. The “boogaloo” is not a single cohesive group, but rather a loose concept that has become a rallying point for some extremists.
Steven Carrillo, the accused shooter of the two law enforcement members, was a member of the Grizzly Scouts.
The Sentinel reported the court documents were filed in an attempt to keep all four in custody, but a judge ruled three, including Rush, did not pose a danger to the community and released them on bail.
Rush states he served in the U.S. Army on his LinkedIn page and was previously employed as a bouncer at Red Brick Bar and Grill in Turlock.
According to the indictment, at times, including on June 1, 2020, and June 2, 2020, members of the Grizzly Scouts, including Rush, Blancas, Ybarra, Miksch, and others, communicated with each other using a WhatsApp group in which discussions repeatedly referenced “boog” and tactics involving the killing of police officers and other law enforcement.
The indictment references the May 29, 2020 shootings at the Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building and United States Courthouse in Oakland. At about 9:44 p.m. that evening, a passenger inside of a white van opened fire and shot two federal Protective Security Officers. One of the PSOs died of his gunshot wounds and the other sustained serious injuries that required surgery.
The indictment also references the June 6, 2020 shootings of deputies of the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office. At about 2 p.m. that day, sheriff’s deputies responded to an address in Ben Lomond, Calif., associated with an abandoned white van. According to the indictment, a member of the Grizzly Scouts exchanged messages on the WhatsApp group with other Grizzly Scouts, in which that member allegedly told the group that he was preparing to engage in a shoot-out with law enforcement. The member allegedly asked the other Grizzly Scouts to come to his aid.
The indictment alleges Rush immediately instructed the Grizzly Scout member on the WhatsApp group to delete evidence on his phone. In addition, the indictment alleges that less than an hour after the shooting in Ben Lomond, Blancas deleted files related to the Grizzly Scouts from a Dropbox account. Further, within hours of the shooting, members of the Grizzly Scouts including Rush, Blancas, Ybarra, and Miksch allegedly began to reconnect on an alternative communications application. Moreover, the indictment alleges that the four defendants each deleted records of the WhatsApp group communications from their phones, including the prior discussions regarding violence against law enforcement.