SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) -- The parents of Kate Steinle, who was shot and killed during a visit last year to the San Francisco pier on Friday filed a federal lawsuit against former Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, the city and federal officials.
The lawsuit, filed James and Elizabeth Steinle, said the man who admitted firing the fatal shot, should have been in police custody and was not because of a series of mistakes and oversights by city and federal workers. The suit names the Bureau of Land Management, ICE, and Mirkarimi as defendants for providing "the means and opportunity for a repeat drug felon to secure a gun and kill Kate."
"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 Frank Pitre of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, the law firm representing the Steinle family. The suit seeks unspecified damages.
Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, a Mexican immigrant, had been released from jail after being deported five prior times. He had served just shy of four years in federal prison for illegal re-entry when he was turned over to San Francisco in March 2015 on an outstanding drug charge.
CIty prosecutors declined to pursue the charge and he was released in April 2015. According to reports, the sheriff prohibited his deputies from cooperating with an order from immigration officials to hold Lopez-Sanchez for possible deportation. That decision was based on the sheriff's reading of San Francisco's sanctuary-city law.
Steinle, 32, was walking with her father along Pier 14 when she was fatally shot. Lopez-Sanchez, charged with murder, has said the shooting was accidental.
The lawsuit said the sheriff's policy was in violation of city and state law. It also cites the federal immigration agency.
Kate Steinle was born in Pleasanton, California and graduated from Amador Valley High School in 2001.