Gun used in San Francisco killing belonged to federal agent, sources say

There’s a new development in the case of the San Francisco woman who died after she was shot on one of the city’s busy piers.

The gun used in the July 1 killing of Kate Steinle belonged to a federal agent, a source with knowledge of the investigation told CNN.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the weapon was stolen in a car burglary in June, according to sources close to the investigation.

Some of the sources said the .40-caliber pistol was apparently not the agent’s official gun.

Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, the man accused in Steinle’s killing, told CNN affiliate KGO-TV that he fired the weapon, but it was an accident.

In the interview, Lopez-Sanchez said he found the gun wrapped inside a T-shirt before it accidentally went off.

Politics of immigration

Lopez-Sanchez is an undocumented immigrant and a repeat felon who has been deported five times to Mexico, according to immigration officials.

And the case has been a lightning rod nationally, drawing the attention of politicians campaigning for the nation’s top job, casting a spotlight on U.S. immigration laws and what role local authorities should play in enforcing them.

The key question: Did San Francisco policies set the stage for the shooting, putting a criminal on the street instead of into the hands of federal authorities who could have deported him again?

Republican contender Donald Trump has blamed immigration policy for Steinle’s death. Another Republican, Jeb Bush, agreed, saying such policies encourage crime.

In an interview with CNN on Tuesday, Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton said San Francisco should have listened to the Department of Homeland Security and that it made a mistake when it didn’t send Lopez-Sanchez packing.

“I have absolutely no support for a city that ignores the strong evidence that should be acted on. … If it were a first-time traffic citation, if it were something minor, a misdemeanor, that’s entirely different,” she said. “This man had already been deported five times. And he should have been deported at the request of the federal government.”

Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Lopez-Sanchez has seven felony convictions, four for drug offenses. His most recent deportation was in 2009.

On Tuesday, Lopez-Sanchez pleaded not guilty to murder and weapons charges. His bail was set at $5 million.

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