SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The parents of a mural painter who was killed in Oakland two years ago with a stolen federal gun have sued the U.S. government for wrongful death.
The parents of Antonio Ramos claim the government was negligent in allowing one or more Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to leave the gun in an open bag in a rental car in a San Francisco neighborhood known for auto break-ins.
“The theft of the gun was a foreseeable consequence of leaving it unsecured, in plain view, in a vehicle parked on the street in a high auto-theft neighborhood,” the lawsuit alleges.
Teresa Lopez and Red Ryder Lopez of Emeryville filed their lawsuit against the United States in federal district court in San Francisco on Wednesday.
They additionally claim, “It was also reasonably foreseeable that a firearm and ammunition, once stolen, would then be used in the near future to pursue a criminal course of conduct.”
Ramos, 27, of Emeryville was fatally shot in daylight at about 10:30 a.m. on Sept. 29, 2015, as he worked on as a volunteer painting an antiviolence mural on an Interstate Highway 580 underpass in Oakland. He had stepped away from the mural to take a photo just before he was killed.
The painting was part of the Oakland Superheroes Mural Project, a collaboration among local artists and students.
Marquise Holloway, 22, said by police to be associated with a West Oakland gang called Ghost Town, has been charged by the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office with murdering Ramos.
On the evening of the previous Sept. 13, the Glock handgun was stolen from an unattended car that had been rented by ICE and parked in the South of Market neighborhood.
The lawsuit asks for financial compensation for the parents for their “significant and traumatic loss” from being deprived of the love, companionship and support of their son, as well as funeral expenses.
A U.S. Department of Justice spokesman was not immediately available for comment.
The lawsuit follows ICE’s rejection on Feb. 3 of an administrative claim the parents filed in August 2016.
A similar lawsuit has been filed against the government by the family of Kate Steinle, who was killed in San Francisco in 2015 with a gun stolen from the car of a U.S. Bureau of Land Management agent.