Kathryn Steinle’s parents filed three separate lawsuits against local and federal officials who they believe contributed to their daughter’s death. As explained by their attorney, Liz Sullivan and Jim Steinle blame the officials for a series of oversights that led up to their daughter’s murder.
On the evening of July 1, Kathryn Steinle and her father were visiting San Francisco’s Pier 14. According to reports, a gunman opened fire into the crowd.
As reported by SF Gate, the 32-year-old woman took a bullet to the chest. Although her father immediately performed CPR, the young woman was pronounced dead two hours later.
Authorities eventually arrested and charged 45-year-old Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, who was found less than a mile from the scene.
Kathryn Steinle’s parents were stunned to learn Lopez-Sanchez was an undocumented immigrant, who was recently released from jail despite his illegal status.
San Francisco’s Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi was specifically named in one of the lawsuits, as he approved the suspect’s release.
According to reports, the Lopez-Sanchez was originally arrested, and detained, on several old warrants. As they were alerted to Lopez-Sanchez’s illegal status, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials ordered the Sheriff’s department to detain the suspect pending deportation.
As reported by CBS News, the defendant was released when the original charges were dismissed. Although the ICE detainer was still in affect, Sheriff Mirkarimi claims he was simply complying with local sanctuary policies.
Liz Sullivan and Jim Steinle also blame the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, as Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez killed their daughter with a stolen gun.
According to reports, the gun was stolen from a DLM ranger, who left the weapon unattended inside his vehicle. As stated in the lawsuit, the ranger was negligent as he “violat[ed] DLM regulations on securing firearms.”
In an interview with the Washington Times, ballistics and weapons expert Ronald Scott agrees that the weapon was improperly secured.
“At a minimum, it should have been stored and locked in the trunk, and usually this would be in some type of box or container that is affixed to the vehicle… Leaving a backpack in a vehicle is like leaving a pocketbook in one. It is an invitation to steal.”
Kathryn Steinle’s parents are specifically disturbed, as Lopez-Sanchez entered the United States illegally and was subsequently deported on five prior occasions. He is also a habitual offender, with a total of seven felony conviction. The suspect was on probation at the time of his arrest.
In addition to Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi and the DLM, Liz Sullivan and Jim Steinle named the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in their lawsuits. Although the parents are seeking damages, a specific amount was not disclosed.
Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez was charged with murder in Kathryn Steinle’s death. However, he pleaded not guilty, as he maintains the shooting was accidental.
[Images via Facebook and Washington Times]