Kathryn Steinle was walking along the waterfront of the Embarcadero in San Francisco with her father and a friend July 1 when she was shot in the chest, allegedly by Francisco Sanchez, a convicted felon who has been deported to his home country of Mexico 5 times.
“There was a pop, and Kate went down,” Steinle’s father, Jim Steinle, told KSBW.
“She just kept saying, ‘Dad, help me, help me,'” her mother, Liz Sullivan, said. “It’s just unbelievable. It’s surreal. I don’t think I’ve totally grasped it.”
“We are saddened and shocked by this senseless act. Our thoughts and condolences are with Kate’s family and friends,” Medtronic said in a statement, according to news reports.
A U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement spokeswoman told KSBW that Sanchez, who has 7 felony convictions, was turned over to San Francisco police in March on an outstanding drug warrant.
Sanchez reportedly claimed that he found the gun wrapped in a T-shirt on the pier, saying the gun somehow went off 3 times after he picked it up.
“Then suddenly I heard that boom boom, 3 times,” he told ABC7.
Sanchez claimed he kicked the gun into San Francisco Bay, lit a cigarette and walked off, not knowing he shot Steinle until he was arrested by police about an hour later. Sanchez reportedly 1st told police he was shooting at sea lions, the TV station reported. Police later recovered a weapon from the bay but it’s unclear if it was the gun used to shoot Steinle.
The tragedy prompted presidential candidate Donald Trump, already facing heavy criticism for his comments about Mexicans, to say the U.S. must tighten its borders.
“This senseless and totally preventable act of violence committed by an illegal immigrant is yet another example of why we must secure our border immediately,” Trump said in a statement. “This is an absolutely disgraceful situation and I am the only one that can fix it. Nobody else has the guts to even talk about it,” the billionaire developer and television personality said.
When announcing his plans June 16 to seek the Republican nomination for president, Trump described immigrants from Mexico to the United States as drug-runners and rapists. His comments prompted a widespread outpouring of criticism.
Comcast’s NBC network cut ties with Trump and the “Miss USA” and “Miss Universe” pageants, and Spanish-language network Univision pulled the July 12 “Miss USA” pageant. Department store chain Macy’s said it would phase out Trump’s menswear collection and New York City said it was reviewing its contracts with the developer.
“Macy’s is a company that stands for diversity and inclusion. We have no tolerance for discrimination in any form,” Macy’s said.
Trump fired back, saying it was his decision to end ties with Macy’s. He also filed a $500 million lawsuit against Univision for dropping the event.
Material from Reuters was used in this report.