Gun that killed Kate Steinle reportedly stolen from federal ranger

Taken from ranger's vehicle while he was on official travel in S.F.

The gun allegedly fired by an undocumented immigrant accused of killing a 32-year-old Pleasanton native Kate Steinle on San Francisco's Pier 14 last week was issued to a U.S. Bureau of Land Management law enforcement ranger and was previously stolen from his vehicle while on official government travel in San Francisco.

Dana Wilson, spokeswoman for the Bureau of Land Management, confirmed this morning that the firearm in question was issued to a ranger who "was on official government travel when his vehicle was broken into and the theft occurred."

Wilson said the ranger immediately reported the theft to the San Francisco Police Department.

She said the staff at the Bureau of Land Management is deeply saddened by the tragic events of July 1.

The homicide suspect, Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, who remains in custody on $5 million bail, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to murder with malice aforethought and weapon enhancements.

However, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said in a statement that he has made sure that no legislation eliminates the sheriff's "ability to make a case-by-case determination about honoring U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainers."

ICE officials took custody of Lopez-Sanchez back in March, when he was remanded to the agency after serving a multi-year federal prison sentence for felony re-entry following deportation, ICE spokesperson Gillian Christensen said in a statement.

ICE turned Lopez-Sanchez over to San Francisco police on March 26 on an outstanding drug warrant, Christensen said.

San Francisco Assistant District Attorney Alex Bastian said Tuesday that the outstanding $5,000 warrant was for selling $20 worth of marijuana at United Nations Plaza back in 1995.

A San Francisco Superior Court judge dismissed the drug charges against Lopez-Sanchez and although ICE requested Lopez-Sanchez be returned to their custody upon his release, the San Francisco Sheriff's Department did not honor that request and he was released onto the streets of San Francisco on April 15.

Matt Gonzalez, the chief attorney at the San Francisco Public Defender's Office, said at Lopez-Sanchez's arraignment Tuesday that the death of Steinle was tragic, but that "very likely this was an accidental shooting."

Gonzalez maintained that there is an "aggressive narrative that this case is about immigration," but he said he believes this case is "more about the ubiquitous nature of guns in our country."

San Francisco police are continuing to investigate who stole the firearm from the ranger's vehicle and how Lopez-Sanchez gained access to the firearm.

-Hannah Albarazi, Bay City News Service

We can't do it without you.
Support local journalism.


5 people like this
Posted by pleasanton resident
a resident of Stoneridge
on Jul 9, 2015 at 3:25 pm

I totally agree with that last comment! Also, why Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez was released from jail at all after multiple crimes is unbelievable! This shows that jail does not change a person, the person stays the same. In this case, an innocent life was taken because a bastard was let out of jail when he should have been required to stay in jail the first place. The statement, "very likely this was an accidental shooting...." is bull. That illegal immigrant knew what he was doing when he shot innocent Kate. Also, the statement, "more about the ubiquitous nature of guns in our country..." is also bull shit. Guns only go off when there is a person behind the gun pulling the trigger!!!! Guns are not the problem. The problem is the people who use the guns, in this case, an immigrant.

1 person likes this
Posted by Cisco
a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Jul 9, 2015 at 3:59 pm

Should not allow illegal aliens in the country. Texas, Arizona, and Nevada are encouraging illegals to go to San Francisco.

3 people like this
Posted by pleasanton was nice forty years ago
a resident of Del Prado
on Jul 9, 2015 at 4:19 pm

If we banned federal agents this would never have happened.
Bev can you tell me the point of the constitution?
I bet when bev gets in trouble she calls someone with a gun to save her.
Bev can you tell me how you plan on keeping guns away from criminals.
Bev cars kill more people in the us then guns do. Car control?
I can go on and on because your thinking is flawed.
You will never control guns in the hands of criminals and you will never get rid of guns. So bev please tell us your great insight into how you will accomplish this.
You are delusional and delusional people are more dangerous than guns.

1 person likes this
Posted by Jerry
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 9, 2015 at 4:26 pm

Never has changed my mind on gun control. I now am convinced liberals should not be allow to have guns.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Don't be the last to know

Get the latest headlines sent straight to your inbox every day.

Couples: Reading List
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 682 views

Castlewood members considering offer from Bay Club
By Tim Hunt | 0 comments | 645 views