Francisco Sanchez admitted to fatally shooting 32-year-old Kate Steinle last week in San Francisco — he moved to the city, he says, because he knew that he would not be deported due to its “sanctuary city” policies.
In a jailhouse interview with San Francisco’s KGO, Sanchez — who has been deported back to Mexico five times — said that he shot Steinle on Wednesday with a gun he found wrapped in a t-shirt at a popular tourist destination. He also said that he does not remember much because he had taken sleeping pills.
Sanchez was also asked: “Did you keep coming back to San Francisco because you knew that they wouldn’t actively look for you to deport you?”
“Yes,” replied Sanchez, who has been convicted of at least seven felonies.
By adopting sanctuary city laws, San Francisco prohibits local law enforcement from helping federal immigration agencies in their investigations.
In keeping with those policies, the San Francisco sheriff’s department declined to honor a detainer request issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in March. The federal agency turned Sanchez over to the sheriff’s department, which had a drug warrant for him. At the time, ICE issued a written detainer request asking that the sheriff’s department send notice before releasing Sanchez.
Instead, the sheriff’s department dropped the charges against Sanchez and — ignoring ICE’s request — released him back onto San Francisco’s streets.
Less than three months later, Sanchez shot Steinle, who was walking with her father and a friend on Pier 14.
During his interview, Sanchez told KGO that he had been looking for work in a restaurant or as a construction worker but had not been able to find a job. He also made reference to time he spent living in Arizona. There, he said, he came into contact with border patrol agents and was often deported.
The shooting will likely have some political fallout. All four Democratic presidential candidates have expressed support for or voted in favor of sanctuary city policies. California’s attorney general, Kamala Harris, has also supported them. She is running for the U.S. senate seat being vacated by Barbara Boxer. (RELATED: All Four Democratic Presidential Candidates Support ‘Sanctuary Cities’)