SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — There’s a bizarre, new twist in the killing of Kathryn Steinle, the 32-year-old woman shot and killed while walking At San Francisco’s Pier 14 with her father. The gun used to kill her belonged to a federal agent.
This new development raises a lot of questions in the investigation. The most obvious one: where did the gun come from?
San Francisco police divers recovered the .40 caliber handgun from the San Francisco Bay the day after Steinle’s killing.
The gun, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, was stolen during a car burglary downtown, just last month.
Sources told KPIX 5, forensic technicians traced the serial number back to a federal agency.
Earlier Tuesday, at his arraignment, prime suspect Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, through an interpreter, entered a not guilty plea. Lopez-Sanchez, an undocumented immigrant who is roughly 45 years old and who has been deported from the United States on multiple occasions for various felonies, is charged with murder. His bail was set at $5 millon.
Lopez-Sanchez’ public defender Matt Gonzalez told the judge the death of Steinle was tragic but that “very likely this was an accidental shooting.”
In a jailhouse interview with Telemundo, the Mexican national admitted to shooting Steinle with a gun he found underneath a bench wrapped in a t-shirt.
Gonzales said Lopez-Sanchez may have not understood the weight of that admission.
“Mr. Sanchez is not a student of the law,” said Gonzalez. “He has a second grade education and many of the legal nuances and the legal ramifications that attend to this case are beyond his current comprehension.”
Authorities have not revealed the name of the federal agent who owned the gun.