- The Washington Times - Monday, July 6, 2015

Francisco Sanchez had been deported to Mexico five times before he says he shot and killed a woman last week on Pier 14, but he knew San Francisco was a sanctuary city where immigration authorities would not detain him.

In a jailhouse interview Sunday with KGO-TV, Sanchez admitted that he shot 32-year-old Kate Steinle, but said it was an accident. He said he found the gun on the ground wrapped in a T-shirt and that it went off three times as he unwrapped it.

Sanchez, 56, who spoke in limited, heavily accented English and also through a translator, said he kicked the gun into the bay and didn’t realize he had shot someone until he was picked up later that day by police.

He said he has been living in San Francisco for about four months. He kept crossing the border illegally to seek jobs in the restaurant and construction industry, and that he had searched for work in California as well as Oregon.

Sanchez also said that he didn’t remember the shooting because he was taking sleeping pills. At first he appeared to say that he had no regrets, but then said that he “feels sorry for everybody” about it.

He was asked about reports that he was shooting at sea lions, but said he didn’t remember.

The San Francisco sheriff’s office released Sanchez in March after prosecutors declined to charge him in relation to a marijuana arrest, but never told Immigration and Customs Enforcement authorities, even though they had requested notification prior to his release.

San Francisco, which has one of the most lenient “sanctuary city” policies in the nation, does not hold those identified as illegal immigrants by ICE without a judicial determination or arrest warrant.

“We followed both the city ordinance and our policy, which is that we don’t honor ICE detainers — which are a request, not a legal basis,” Freya Horne, spokeswoman for the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

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