Two federal agencies and a San Francisco sheriff is being sued by the family of Katie Steinle, who was allegedly murdered by an illegal immigrant.
They argue that Steinle’s death could have been prevented if not for lax enforcement of immigration law.
“Kate’s death was both foreseeable and preventable had the law enforcement agencies, officials and/or officers involved simply followed the laws…which they swore to uphold,” the complaint said, ABC News reports.
The case has placed “sanctuary cities,”—in which the municipal government refuses to cooperate with federal enforcement of immigration law—under scrutiny, as the alleged shooter might have been deported if not for San Francisco’s status as a sanctuary city.
The alleged shooter, Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, had an extensive criminal record and had previously been deported from the country five times. He allegedly said he chose to go to San Francisco because it was a sanctuary city.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had begun processing Lopez-Sanchez to be deported in March, but the city of San Francisco blocked the agency’s detainer request, Breitbart reports.
Katie Steinle was shot on July 1st, 2015.
The gun used to kill her was allegedly stolen from an unsecured car belonging to the Bureau of Land Management.
Lopez-Sanchez was released from a 46-month sentence in federal prison in March and was placed in legal custody under the SFPD, who dismissed an ICE detainer for him, saying that they had “no basis” to hold him without an active warrant.
“The Steinle Family hopes that their actions today will serve to highlight the lax enforcement of gun safety regulations among the law enforcement agencies involved and bureaucratic confusion so that this will not happen to others,” said the law firm representing Steinle’s family.
Lopez-Sanchez has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder.