SAN FRANCISCO—The parents of Kathryn Steinle, the 32-year-old woman who was shot and killed two months ago while walking on San Francisco’s Pier 14, have filed a lawsuit against local and federal authorities for actions that indirectly contributed to the death of their daughter.
Among those Jim Steinle and Liz Sullivan name in their lawsuit are San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
SF Sheriff Mirkarimi oversaw the release of Steinle’s alleged killer Juan-Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, 45, from the custody of local law enforcement. Lopez-Sanchez, an illegal immigrant from Mexico, had already been deported from the country five times and convicted of a felony seven times.
Mirkarimi is said to have specifically requested for Lopez-Sanchez’s transfer from federal custody, from which he was set to be released soon after.
Though the transfer request was made due to a marijuana-related case involving the suspect, Mirkarimi’s actions were questioned after he admitted that drug charges of that nature were rarely prosecuted.
Steinle’s parents also question Mirkarimi’s decision not to inform ICE of Lopez-Sanchez’s release.
The parents argue that the BLM was responsible for Lopez-Sanchez being able to acquire the gun that killed their daughter. The gun is believed to have been stolen from the car of a Bureau of Land Management ranger near the pier. The lawsuit alleges that the ranger could have prevented Lopez-Sanchez from obtaining the gun had it been better hidden from view.
While the legal claims are being pursued, the trial for Lopez-Sanchez has begun. The preliminary hearing started on August 25 when witnesses testified against Lopez-Sanchez. One of those witnesses claimed to have watched the scene from a five-story hotel room and even snapped photographs.
Lopez-Sanchez’s defense is arguing that Steinle’s death was accidental and that the bullet Lopez-Sanchez fired ricocheted off the ground and struck Steinle.