SAN FRANCISCO—Over a year after the death of San Francisco resident Kathryn Steinle, 32, it was announced on Friday, December 2 that a federal judge is contemplating whether or not to dismiss a lawsuit filed by her parents.
Steinle’s parents sued the San Francisco County Sheriff, the Immigration Customs and Enforcement, and the Bureau of Land Management for unjustified actions due to the illegal immigrant status of her killer, Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, who was also sued by the family. Her parents claim that all three institutions are responsible for their daughter’s death.
On July 1, 2015 at approximately 6:30 p.m., Steinle was walking on Pier 14 in San Francisco’s Embarcadero District with her father when, Lopez-Sanchez, picked up a gun and fired it, according to reports. The bullet rebounded off the pavement and struck Steinle in the back. She was taken to the hospital where she died two hours from injuries she sustained.
Lopez-Sanchez was arrested and charged with second-degree murder five days after Steinle’s death, according to police. He is reportedly a seven-time felon and has been deported from the country five times. He pleaded not guilty to the charge of second-degree murder, as he insisted that the gun had fired on its own when he picked it up. According to reports, the gun had been stolen from a BLM ranger’s backpack through the broken window of a nearby parked car.
Following a four-year prison sentence for illegal re-entry and charges of marijuana sales, Lopez-Sanchez was released from prison in April 2015.
In their filing, Steinle’s parents asserted that the sheriff’s department violated the city’s sanctuary policy, failing to inform federal immigration officials that Lopez-Sanchez was being released from prison, dismissing the ICE’s request to keep him detained. They claim their daughter’s death was preventable and would not have occurred if city officials had adhered to various policies, laws, regulations and had taken appropriate action. The suit also asserts that the ICE is to be held accountable, as they were unaware of Lopez-Sanchez’s release.
The judge’s decision to dismiss the case has yet been announced.