The missing pieces in the Steinle killing narrative

A lot of what we have heard from the news media so far turns out not to be entirely true

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Judge Samuel Feng decided today that the defendant in the Kate Steinle killing could finally be called by his real name.

Although he’s been charged in the case as Juan Francisco Lopez Sanchez, the federal, state, and local authorities have known that he was born Jose Ines Garcia Zarate. It’s not at all clear why they have used an alias instead of his actual name.

Jose Ines Garcia Zarate will get his day in court — but how will the media play the trial?

That minor but significant detail is just one sign of how much of what the news media has been reporting and the public has come to believe about this case turns out not to be true.

The narrative that everyone from Fox News commentators to the president of the United States has been pushing has Garcia Zarate illegally crossing the border, getting released improperly from SF County Jail, and killing a young woman — as if he were a violent murderer who should never have been in the US, much less on the streets.

But there’s another side to the story, which will start to emerge as the trial goes forward.

The courtroom was relatively quiet for the early hearings, but I suspect it will be packed with news media when the judge impanels a jury and testimony starts. Feng has been very friendly to the news media, and will allow video and still cameras in the courtroom. What happens in the next few weeks, and the way it’s portrayed, will affect the national debate on immigration. In other words, this is more than a local criminal trial; it’s national news, and I fear the major outlets will continue to use it as a case study in anti-immigrant madness.

So let’s take a second before the trial begins to take a look at what we know about the case — and what we thought we knew, and what we still don’t know. It’s revealing.

For starters, there’s no evidence that Garcia Zarate has a history of violence. There’s no evidence that that he’d ever owned, or even fired a gun before the tragic 2015 incident on Pier 14.

From what has come out in advance of the trial, we know that a federal agent, from the Bureau of Land Management, left a loaded SIG Sauer pistol — a military-grade weapon with a hair trigger — in a backpack in his car. A round was in the chamber. The slightest touch to the trigger, or even an accidental drop, could set it off.

Somebody broke into the car and stole the backpack. There’s no evidence that this was Garcia Zarate — in fact, even the prosecution isn’t arguing that he had anything to do with the theft.

We don’t know what the thief, who had in hand a loaded weapon, did with the gun. All we know is that at some point, whoever stole the gun ditched it, wrapped in what might have been a T-Shirt, and left it on a bench on the waterfront.


Back to Garcia Zarate.

Since the federal government years ago started imposing long prison sentences for multiple immigration offenses — and he had a very minor drug offense on his record — he has spent more than 18 years in federal custody.

But he has never been convicted of a violent crime.

Picture this: Garcia Zarate is released from federal prison. He is driven to San Francisco, because there’s an ancient warrant out for a really tiny drug arrest long ago. He’s booked into county jail — and within a day or two, the district attorney, no surprise, decides that the case is too old and minor to pursue.

So those charges are dropped — and because the feds never bothered to get a warrant to have him turned back over for deportation, the sheriff, following long-established policy, releases him.

Garcia Zarate has no money and no place to live, so he winds up homeless, and is sitting by the waterfront when he stumbles onto the gun — still loaded, wrapped, according to some accounts, in what might have been a T-shirt.

There is no evidence, and no reason to believe, that Garcia Zarate pointed the gun at Steinle or had any intention of harming her or anyone else. But the weapon discharged — we still don’t know why or how — and the bullet ricocheted off some concrete and killed the 32-year-old woman.

This is a horrible tragedy. But it’s not a case of a murderous immigrant crossing the border to kill people.

A border wall might not have stopped Garcia Zarate from entering the country (these walls never work). A rule mandating that the sheriff turn him over to the feds might have kept him off the waterfront — but the gun still would have been there, and the potential for serious harm would not have changed. 

On the other hand, a policy preventing federal agents from leaving loaded weapons unsecured in their cars would absolutely have prevented the death of Kate Steinle. 

This is the narrative that Fox News and the Trumpians will refuse to acknowledge as the trial commences. But it’s the truth, and it’s up to the responsible news media to report it.


  1. Negligent homicide. There’s almost no such thing as a gun going off ” by accident.” It’s through intent or negligence. This was, a best, a negligent discharge.

  2. Slightest touch? Hair trigger? It’s 6.5 pounds, my friend. And the gun is drop safe.

    There is a Sig having drop issues, but it’s the 320. Man, you’re ignorant.

  3. Why are you so invested in having him convicted? And I use the caps key for emphasis. If you think that is abuse, you are either overly sensitive, or grasping at straws….again.

  4. For the final time, you can not shoot a gun without your finger on the trigger. Expecting a different result is nonsensical.

    I don't know why you're so invested in his "innocence" nor do I care. Please stop abusing me with your presumptions and use of the caps lock key.


  5. If he did not intend to fire the gun, if the DA cannot prove that he knowingly, and deliberately caused it to go off, then THERE IS NO CRIME. You want to punish him, not out of justice, but out of vengeance. If he did not have intent to commit an act, he is NOT guilty. And if there is reasonable doubt, then he must be found innocent.

  6. You have yet to provide any arguments to the contrary. You put your finger on the trigger and the gun goes off, it's how the machine is designed to work. If you don't know how a gun works, or how to tell if it's loaded, don't touch it.
    You're arguing that ignorance proves a lack of guilt as if it excuses the death of an innocent. Then you include desperately absurd, yet inflammatory language, because "feelings."
    He killed someone whether he meant to or not. Now it's time for consequences.

  7. Clearly, you have no interest in the truth. You are determined to see him as guilty, even though there is considerable reason to consider that it was a bizarre accident. You have no real arguments so you resort to absurd stuff about passive aggressive, and such.

  8. Not even remotely, what? Why would you pick up a gun that you know nothing about, much less how to tell if it's loaded? "I'm homeless and I need a scary-looking paperweight!"
    It's not an accident to shoot someone because you "accidentally" had your finder on the trigger. You put your finder on the trigger for one reason only: to shoot.
    And your passive aggression is desperate, it doesn't just sound that way.

  9. ROTFL! Not even remotely. I mean, he wouldn't have even known if the gun was loaded. You assume a lot, and your rather absurd comment about "destroy everything in front of the muzzle," sounds rather desperate.

  10. He had his finger on the trigger; what else was he going to do? There is only one reason you put your finger on the trigger: to destroy everything in front of the muzzle.

    A natural action is to leave the gun alone because you don't know how to use it and it scares you.

  11. If the person "should have known," but didn't, they do not have the kind of intent you're describing. But they can still be convicted.

  12. Did you read beyond the first sentence? It still requires a certain mentality, that the DA has to prove. Either than the person knew what should done, or that the person at least should have known. Your still grabbing at straws.

  13. Having a finger on the trigger of a gun, which is pretty much a natural action, and not knowing that the particular gun in question has a hair trigger is not deliberate. Unless he deliberately intended to fire the gun, he is not guilty, period. And the DA has to prove that he deliberately intended to fire the gun at the very least. Prove, not say, "Well, duh…of course he did."

  14. The both involved intent. The person deliberately committed the act that led to them being charged, or they showed total disregard for safety. Seriously, you are really grasping at straws. A crime has to involve a certain mentality, or it is not a crime. I don't know why this is so hard for you to grasp.

  15. I reiterate, having your finger on the trigger is not an accident. That's exactly how a gun is operated. What did he expect would happen?

  16. They are similar in that they both involved accidental shootings without intent. You claimed no one could ever be convicted on those grounds.

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  18. "..he was CHARGED and has NOT been convicted."
    Other people have been convicted after what were claimed to be purely accidental shootings. Here are a couple that seem similar to your scenario of what happened with Garcia Zarete.
    Note this quote: "Rochester Police Capt. John Sherwin said the shooting likely wasn't intentional but caused by careless handling of the gun…"

  19. Don't count on it. And if it goes to a jury, he has to be convicted before sentencing is even an issue. That is by no means certain. As to Trump, his ego would allow for him to not be deported. And that office within DHS is a joke. There are not that many crimes committed by undocumented aliens. But Trump would never admit that.

  20. I know you are, but what am I? LOL see ya later!

    Edited for accuracy, this seems to sum it up very well:

    ''You doubt…. You make a claim based on your prejudice. You actually know practically nothing, but you presume to make pronouncements about his *innocence*, not based on facts, but based on your *hatred*
    of Trump." ad nauseam

  21. How handy for you to avoid all the irrefutable facts! There are no participation prizes, unfortunately, but I have no doubt we'll engage again on this topic in the future.

  22. I'm going to go out on a limb here and be fairly positive he was in intentional possession of the gun, whether he found it or whether he was the one who lifted it from the car is likely immaterial. It was in his possession; he didn't try to get rid of it until after it discharged (by whatever means); there's not any evidence he contacted any authorities (or anybody else for that matter) to surrender what he "found"; and then he left the scene, and was picked up about an hour later, roughly a mile away. What he sought, or didn't, isn't really the crux. I think you're now dead-to-rights on the possession, of a firearm, by a felon.

  23. I would be surprised. I would also say Gonzalez had failed to do his job. I could see him taking a plea for time served, or for a year or two, but not 15 to 20. Granted, by the time he got out, Trump would be long gone.

  24. Yes, indeed, she does. She sees no crime, only an accident. Amazing point of view. Props for perseverance.

  25. Don't be so sure. Even possession requires an intent. He FOUND the gun. He did not seek to possess a gun.

  26. while it didn't explain it "all" to me, it was indeed enlightening.

    "Others may require proof the act was committed with such mental elements such as "knowingly" or "willfulness" or "recklessness"."

    Recklessness – defined as: lack of regard for the danger or consequences of one's actions; rashness.

    Easily proven in court as an element that led to a death.

  27. What would you say if he is offered, and accepts a plea agreement, say for involuntary manslaughter for 15-20 years?

  28. You're persistent – I'll say that. Must be nice where you can create your own reality, insulated from the truth, and still believe it. Marvelous.

    Straw man arguments seem to be your specialty – throwing out supposed contortions and media coverage of cases other than this one to deflect from facts and the way this case is handled.

  29. It cannot be disproven that he is a felon who was in possession of a firearm. Unlawful act. Proven.

  30. That is possible, but I wouldn't count on it. If it goes to trial, and he is convicted, there will likely be appeals.

  31. "Intent is required in all crimes."

    please find a citation for this, otherwise it's just conjecture.

    If they add criminally negligent homicide, they don't have to prove any intent whatsoever….only that he was a felon in possession and or control of a firearm and that she died when it discharged. Open and shut. That they can prove beyond any reasonable doubt.

  32. You haven't proven anything. You have tried dodging, avoiding facts, and quite frankly, throwing out rather lame straw man arguments.

  33. Gonzales should hire you. This guy isn't going to get an appeal, my guess he will pursue a plea deal based on counsel's recommendation if one is offered.

  34. Well, he was CHARGED, and has NOT been convicted. DAs charge people with stuff all the time. They often overcharge in the hopes of forcing a plea bargain. Which often results in innocent people pleading guilty.

    And in the case you cite, it was more than just accidental. He was underage.

    As to the case at hand, what he did was a perfectly normal reaction.

  35. You are just proving my point. A poor person's life is just as valuable as a rich person. And ugly person's life is just as valuable as an attractive person's life. A homeless person's life is just as valuable as your life.

  36. You keep trying to avoid the truth. Intent is required in all crimes. It does not have to be intent to kill, but there has to be a criminal act, or gross negligence, for it to be manslaughter. In texting while driving, there is intent. Even if it does not result in a death. In drinking and driving, there is intent. Intent to do something the law forbids. Intend to text. Intent to drive drunk. In this case, they have to prove that he intended to fire the gun. BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT. Not, "Oh, he was holding the gun when it was fired," but "He deliberately fired the gun."

  37. Intent is required in all crimes. You cannot simply, accidentally commit a crime. That is why children below a certain age, 7 in most states, cannot be charged with a crime. Not capable of forming intent.

  38. No, but you keep trying to dodge a simple fact. If he did not intend to fire gun, it was not a crime. If he did not intend to fire the gun, there is no basis for prosecution. That is the issue. You keep trying to avoid that, but that is what this case comes down to. And it is up to the DA to prove it, beyond a reasonable doubt.

  39. Of course the interview is up to debate if it is going to be used to sustain a claim. If the judge allows it, it will almost certainly be grounds for an appeal.

  40. Actually, in California, reckless endangerment only applies to drunk driving.

    Here is the relevant section of the criminal code for manslaughter:

    Manslaughter is the unlawful killing of a human being without malice.  It is of three kinds:

    (a) Voluntary-upon a sudden quarrel or heat of passion.

    (b) Involuntary-in the commission of an unlawful act, not amounting to a felony; or in the commission of a lawful act which might produce death, in an unlawful manner, or without due caution and circumspection.  This subdivision shall not apply to acts committed in the driving of a vehicle.

    I left out vehicular, as it clearly has no bearing on this case. (a) obviously does not apply either. So, they have to prove that he committed an unlawful act, or that he acted without due caution and circumspection.

    That's going to be a lot to prove.

  41. Here is a local story about someone who was charged with involuntary manslaughter–a crime–after accidentally setting off a gun:

    In addition, Garcia Zarate picked up a gun that wasn't his, and as a convicted felon, he does not have the right to possess a firearm in California. There was no responsible reason for him to have taken that gun out of its tshirt (or whatever) wrapping, causing it to go off, accidentally or no. It does not seem plausible to me that he could have picked it up without realizing it was a gun.

  42. you're flying off on tangents that have little to do with the case at hand. So now, it's "usually reported, but they get little attention"? Perhaps you're reading the wrong sources. Maybe it's not an unusual occurrence. maybe the reporter didn't follow up with the cops. maybe the victim was homeless or couldn't be immediately identified. Or maybe high profile cases are high profile because they relate to public policy and occur in heavily trafficked areas in broad daylight to wholly innocent people.

    Go out and get some fresh air.

  43. San Francisco, or any other jurisdiction, is under NO legal obligation to honor a request from ICE. It is pretty much the equivalent of asking a favor. So, they did not "sideline" immigration law.

    Wow, you have to go back almost 20 years for you example. Did you know that the SFSD actually tried to get ICE to pick up Ramos, but ICE refused. I bet you missed that part of it. Kamala Harris had a role in that case, but it was not because of Sanctuary Law. Ramos did not qualify, and it was ICE who declined to deal with him. Ramos SHOULD have been deported.

  44. Supposedly is also known as "reasonable doubt."

    not so. Intent (to kill) is not required for manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide. It happens all the time. Texting while driving. Drinking and driving.

  45. Ah, there you go again, assuming facts not in evidence. The kidnapping of the white girl was covered extensively from the beginning. The second was not covered until the mother went and raised a fuss about how it had been ignored. She basically shamed the local paper into covering it. They are usually reported, but they get little attention. Unless the crime is unusual, or it involves someone who fits that certain profile, it gets a story, and people generally don't care. It is sad that she was killed, but it is NOT more tragic than if anyone else is killed. That's the issue. We place different values on people's lives based on their social standing. If some elderly woman, who is homeless is murdered, there will little, if any outrage. When a French citizen was murdered in Hayes Valley, the police actually tried to cover it up, because it was an embarrassment to Gavin Newsom. They claimed he had stabbed himself with a knife. Washed it off, and put it away before succumbing to his wound. And recently, a person was killed in Hayes Valley near Sauce. I was there with a friend, and I walked over to see why there was crime scene tape across the alley next door. The officer pointed down the alley and said someone had been stabbed. The body was there under a tarp. It was in the paper the next day, with a small followup giving his name. Nothing since. Funny how a deliberate and cold blooded murder is far less significant that an accidental killing because the victim doesn't have the right selling points, and they can't make a political issue out of the suspect. Of course, they don't have any idea who the suspect is in this recent case.

  46. He takes up a lot of space in your head- while you argue that no crime was committed by Lopez, arguing that it was just an accident, that he couldn't form intent to kill or cause mayhem, he was here for a better life and so on.

    Sanctuary law is neither good nor bad, but is abused and is lousy public policy.

    ICE has a plethora of wholly valid, concrete reasons to deport him, again, for the sixth time.

  47. we're not discussing intent to drive, intoxicated or otherwise.

    He may not have intended to kill, but he did. It's a prosecutable crime.

  48. Supposedly is also known as "reasonable doubt." And malice has nothing to do with it. You do have to have INTENT. You have to knowingly, and intentionally, committed an act to be convicted of a crime.

  49. my quote: "actually the butterfly comment is just flippant and thoughtless. A woman is dead because a 7x convicted felon, deported 5 – count 'em – five times, decided to aim a gun he came across at sea lions."

    I said he aimed the gun at sea lions, which I believe was in the interview, whether that interview is worth its salt or not is up for debate. Moreover, we're not in court. That statement is freely available and debatable on this, or any other non-court forum. The judge will make the decision as to whether that statement should or will be suppressed, not any of us.

  50. It's an ordinance, not "the law". SF is not upholding the law, they're sidelining immigration law, and ICE requests for individuals.

    And if the record on these situations is anything to go by, it's pretty dismal. This killing, the Bologna family deaths – easily preventable when illegal immigrants with criminal histories are released back onto the streets instead of being handed over to the authorities. This guy, like I've said time and again, is not, nor should he be, the poster child for anyone's Sanctuary City ordinance.

  51. Have you not argued that he claimed he was shooting at sea lions? As to what was in his mind at the time of the interview, it is irrelevant. The interview should be suppressed. It is worthless. What was in his mind at the time of the shooting is important.

  52. again, you're doing just that. The kidnappings in B'Ham didn't escape you, so they were both covered, not ignored. One more than the other? Sure, likely. Often. Again, not the issue here.

    Most – defined as what 50%+1? murders in SF do not go un-noticed, or unreported. They may not receive the same level of coverage – absolutely. A suspected gang-involved shooting in Hunters Point with a victim who might have a long criminal sheet isn't going to get the same attention as the case at hand. Correct on that point.

    A. she grew up in the Bay Area, and was at a rather iconic location, visited and enjoyed by many…out for a walk with her dad, B. She appeared attractive, yes. C. she was out in a public area, presumed safe for the people of this city, and for visitors, and D. the accused isn't the poster child for leniency, or for SF's vaunted and in my opinion, misplaced, Sanctuary City policies.

  53. It was not an anecdote. It was an illustration. I suggest you brush up on critical thinking. There still has to be intent to have engaged in the act that causes a death. That has not been shown here. And you can't just "assume."

  54. They have an intent to drive, even though they are intoxicated. And even if you want to argue that they are not capable of forming such an intent, being intoxicated, they did not bother taking steps to avoid driving drunk while able.

  55. I haven't see where you have any idea what is fact. We don't know what state the gun was in while stored. It is not impossible, especially if the BLM agent wanted to be able to fire quickly, And we don't know what whoever stole the gun might have done with it.

    My boyfriend? Hardly. I just don't care for someone being railroaded for any reason. I think the Sanctuary law is a good thing. There was no reason to help ICE deport him.

  56. That is why I used the word "supposedly." But whatever is true or untrue in this case doesn't change the fact that you can be convicted of a crime without malicious intent or "depraved indifference."

  57. Which statements? Those in the interview? I'm not relying on those statements, only the evidence that the gun was in his hands, in his possession. I don't know what was in his mind, nor his state of mind, when the interview was conducted. I don't know what the reporter was after, or whether said reporter was trying to pull a fast one. Evidence is just that, it can be proven. I'm not building a case, that's the DA's job, and it looks like Mr Gonzales will likely ask for a plea (which is just my suspicion).

  58. What he said in that absurd interview is worthless. He also said he fired three shots, which is not remotely true. He said pretty much what he thought the person conducting the interview wanted him to say. The interview is to evidence at all. I love how people want to claim he was lying about finding the gun wrapped up in a t-shirt, but take the part about sea lions as gospel. I'm not even sure if there are any sea lions around that location.

  59. Not under the law in San Francisco. Violent crimes are the issue. He was NOT a threat to public safety.

  60. I'm not deflecting. I have seen such things many times. Some years ago, there were two similar kidnappings in Birmingham. One was a white girl. There was considerable coverage. She was from a relatively well to do family, and would be considered quite attractive. The other was a black girl from a poor family. It was largely ignored. This sort of thing happens over and over. People get murdered, actually murdered, in San Francisco regularly. But most go unnoticed.

  61. I find it rather curious how you want to rely on certain statements when much of what he said in the interview was not remotely accurate. The evidence is not valid as evidence. So, relying on it to build a case is a fallacy.

  62. An anecdote convinces me of nothing. Involuntary manslaughter is an unintentional murder. You'll need to provide me a reputable link to sway my opinion.

  63. actually it doesn't. drunk drivers don't have intent to kill, but they often do…and therein lies the crime.

  64. that's funny! I call the facts as I see them…speaking of evidence of facts – there is no evidence the gun was left in that vehicle in the cocked position. None whatsoever. People who handle guns may leave them in cars, may get them stolen, may be sloppy, but they don't leave them cocked.

    My prejudices? Indeed – this guy should've been deported when ICE contacted the Sheriffs' office. I expect and hope your boyfriend gets a fair trial, and I didn't vote for trump….a crime did occur though. Your projections and biases are showing – you're willing to mentally contort yourself into a pretzel (by slandering others) to nominate this guy for sainthood.

  65. You doubt…. You make a claim based on your prejudice. You actually know practically nothing, but you presume to make pronouncements about his guilt, not based on facts, but based on your support of Trump.

  66. Reckless endangerment would require that he have some intent to do the thing which was reckless. Let's say, someone finds a piece of rope running from a neighbor's yard, into theirs. They pick it up, and pull it towards them, since it is in the way of something they need to do, or is simply unsightly. Unknown to them, the rope is attached to a detonator, and pulling it causes the neighbor's house to explode, killing everyone inside. Now, by your apparent logic, he would be guilty of a crime. Of course, he wouldn't. For it to be either of the things you mention, he would have to proven to have INTENDED to fire the gun. That has not been shown.

  67. "They would have to prove that he committed an unlawful act, which would still require intent."
    I don't understand what you mean. Garcia Zarate supposedly claimed he shot at sea lions, which is illegal. If the prosecution can prove to a jury that he shot at sea lions, then he can be convicted of an unlawful act regardless of whether he had any malice toward sea lions or intent to break the law. If a woman was killed because he unlawfully shot at sea lions, then he is criminally culpable.

  68. not so. "the crime of killing a human being without malice aforethought, or otherwise in circumstances not amounting to murder." – the definition of manslaughter. We're not talking about cars here.

  69. That is dropping the ball. Public safety is a valid reason, even before this shooting. Multiple felonies is a reason. Having been deported 5 times, again, a valid reason.

  70. again, you're deflecting. If if if. We don't live in the land of if.

    we can debate and daydream that if facts were different, the situation would be different – point taken. I think the political rallying cry (which I'm not a part of) Stems not from cynicism, but from genuine outrage and disbelief.

  71. I wasn't taking issue with how many shots were fired. The weapon was in his hands, was it not? His criminal convictions are not pulled from thin air. My views are pretty coherent, and the post that you're replying to is 100% factually accurate, your obfuscation notwithstanding.

  72. Reckless endangerment and involuntary manslaughter seem like logical charges to me. Intent of what? Can you provide a link? I don't believe you as of yet.

  73. Wrong. Manslaughter would require some intent. Even depraved indifference requires a conscious disregard for safety. Driving a car at an excessive speed would qualify. Driving a car in general, would not.

  74. Someone, especially someone who is not experienced in firearms, would expect a gun to fire simply because one touches the trigger. But that is very possibly, and very likely, what happened here. That would negate intent, depraved indifference, and make this simply an accident.

  75. No, they didn't drop anything. They did not see any valid reason this person, who only wanted to live in America, should be shipped back again.

  76. Again, you want to take a very incoherent interview in which he seemed to be trying to say what the newsperson wanted, as evidence. It isn't. He also said he fired three shots. Only one was fired. Somehow that gets ignored.

  77. Yes, it matters. But let's be honest, if she were non-white, older, unattractive, or poor, there would be far less outrage born of a cynical attempt to make this into a political rallying cry.

  78. That is a bit of a stretch. They would have to prove that he committed an unlawful act, which would still require intent. Sorry, but think a bit before making such an absurd claim.

  79. Im not a gun guy either, i just like machines and mechanics. There are a lot of important issues here that I'm trying to make sense of.

    That Sig P229 is a more dangerous gun compared with others commonly used by law enforcement. It is not drop safe when in the cocked position, and the 56% decrease in trigger pressure from the first to second shot is drastic.

    The Glock G22 has newer generation safety features. It has a trigger safety. It is drop safe at all times. It has no thumb actuated hammer, which means it is double action only. And trigger pull is a 5.5 lbs for every shot.

  80. Sure, lot's of things would have prevented this death. We could have murdered all immigrants who came into the U.S. We could keep all U.S. citizens locked in jail cells. All people could live their lives in bullet proof bubbles.

    What's your point?

  81. "blaming anyone for it is absurd."

    this just takes the cake of reflexive thoughtlessness.

    A woman is dead which is the result of the 'bizarre' chain of events. Does that even matter to you?

  82. It's manslaughter, easily. I seriously doubt the gun was left in the car cocked – and even 4.4 lbs isn't hair-trigger, so Tim should still avoid terms he knows little about IMHO

  83. You can be convicted of a crime without intent or "depraved indifference." Example: "constructive manslaughter," which only requires that a death occurred as a result of an unlawful act.

  84. If Tim isn't a 'gun guy' he should avoid terms like "hair-trigger". The trigger pull is likely in the neighborhood of 10lbs, which means one would need at a minimum, some intent and motivation to want to fire it.

  85. the trigger pull weight, from what I can find is roughly 10 lbs. you have to try to pull the trigger. It by no means is, as Tim describes a "hair-trigger".

  86. actually the butterfly comment is just flippant and thoughtless. A woman is dead because a 7x convicted felon, deported 5 – count 'em – five times, decided to aim a gun he came across at sea lions.

  87. There has to be some intent, or depraved indifference, before you can convict someone of a crime. That does not appear to be present in this case. Sadly, the car thief will almost certainly remain unknown.

  88. Take that up with ICE. They clearly weren't that eager to deport him again. And statements he made in a TV interview are not evidence.

  89. "All we know is that at some point, whoever stole the gun ditched it,
    wrapped in what might have been a T-Shirt, and left it on a bench on the

    <b>Don't think we actually know that. It's Zarate's story but no one is said to have corroborated it.</b>

    "we know that a federal agent, from the Bureau of Land Management, left a loaded SIG Sauer pistol —
    a military-grade weapon with a hair trigger — in a backpack in his car.
    A round was in the chamber. The slightest touch to the trigger, or even
    an accidental drop, could set it off."

    <b>Don't think we actually know when the gun was chambered and cocked. Again, its Zarate's uncorroborated story and media speculation about the gun's characteristics.</b>

  90. All,

    Trial is back on (maybe just for half hour or whatever it takes to move the next spaces on the board ) … 9:30am in Court #`13 at 850 Bryant tomorrow, August 10th. If you wait til they reach Jury selection you won't be able to get near the place.

    Hoping the defense goes easy on the BLM agent who lost his weapon. He didn't shoot anyone and I'd think a small fine combined with the humiliation he'll undergo admitting it on the stand is quite sufficient. It's not like he left an infant in the back seat while he went to get a beer in Needles.

    Go Giants!

  91. Just because the chain of events was convoluted, doesn't absolve anyone of blame. Based on what I've read:

    –Juan/Jose is to blame for accidentally shooting Steinle. (involuntary manslaughter)
    –The car thief is to blame for stealing the gun. (grand theft)
    –The officer is to blame for improper handling/storage of a gun. (improper storage)

    Prosecute all 3 of them for the crimes they committed. Everyone is responsible for their own actions.

  92. Oh, ok. So only in his psyche is our man anywhere near guilty of multiple shots, aiming at animals, and Murder-2?

    This all still doesn't explain why he isn't copping to an Involuntary Manslaughter charge, and sidestepping this whole lawyerly bizarre bazaar.

    Its curious that Our Man has an ancient Bench Warrant out for his blunts possession, but doesn't have a Bench Warrant out for his multiple Illegal Entry attempts.

  93. If it were in sa/da mode only. Gonzalez would have to make the claim that Lopez Sanchez found the gun cocked, picked it up, and it unexplicably went off. A jury would then see a video of Lopez Sanchez saying he was shooting at sea lions and that the gun fired three times. The agent will testify the gun was not cocked – the last time it was accounted for.

    A jury will not be so naive to believe Sanchez Lopez has an accurate remembrance of the events. Would you want a different charge for him if he angled the gun out at the ground and pulled the trigger, just to see what happened? I see that as a real possibility.

  94. <blockquote>an interview he gave with KGO while he was apparently recovering from some sleeping pills he had taken</blockquote>You do know that the interview took place four days after he took the sleeping pills, right?

    But just to be sure…nothing that he said can be deemed reliable <strong>except</strong> that he found the gun wrapped in a T shirt and it went off. Every other statement that he said is questionable, except for that one.

  95. The claim, that I see has been finally settled, that three shots were fired, was based solely on an interview he gave with KGO while he was apparently recovering from some sleeping pills he had taken. The interview was poorly done, and a lot of what he said was obviously attempts to be helpful.

  96. Let me explain this in simple terms. There was a bench warrant. A bench warrant cannot be ignored. When he was being released, the bench warrant was in the system and turned up. He was returned, in accordance with the law. The DA had no choice but to dismiss the case, as he evidence had been lost. The sheriff did not "make a decision to give the guy a free ride to San Francisco." A deputy would have gotten a phone call and said, "Okay, we will come get him." There was a bench warrant. He was returned as required by law.

  97. Good question. The right wing-nuts are tripping all over themselves to absolve the current sheriff of any fault for allowing a report recommending the release of someone arrested in possession of an illegal gun. They use a computer program that produces recommendations, and no one bothered to question it.

  98. Well, that bit about the butterfly is about as close to an accurate description of this case as anything. The chain of events that lead to Steinle's death was so bizarre, and convoluted that blaming anyone for it is absurd. The evidence shows only one bullet had been fired. That is from the ballistics expert who examined the gun.

  99. The evidence shows that only ONE bullet was fired. The claim that he fired three times was based on the KGO interview, which was conducted when he was recovering from some sleeping pills, as was the the statement about sea lions.

  100. I don't think anyone has claimed that the gun fired itself, just that it would not take much pressure to cause the gun to fire. So little that it would be easy to fire completely accidentally.

  101. I'm highly doubtful Tim is a gun guy. I feel the ssme about Lopez Sanchez. I think you and I agree the Sig is drop safe only when it's in double action mode. But it wasn't dropped – that would have been an impossible trajectory.

    Personally I think the trigger pressure isn't much relevant. The murder was inadvertent, but it's a long shot to say the gun fired itself. We will see how Gonzalez plays it.

  102. It wasn't my claim, apparently he had said it himself, but his statements may not be accurate.

    Tim's reporting here on the pistol here is pretty misleading and irresponsible. A properly working pistol of this make should have drop safety. Even if it was chambered, that shouldn't happen. The idea of pistols going off when dropped is derived from pop culture and older guns not being as drop safe.

  103. A lot of things would have prevented the tragedy. If a butterfly had flapped its wings in Tokyo then perhaps the Steinles wouldn't have been in that spot at that moment.

    The defendant originally told police that he was shooting at sea lions but Gonzalez will probably get that thrown out because of the language barrier and the fact that the defendant had taken pills that he found in a dumpster. So he didn't understand his rights.

    The defendant told KGO-TV that the gun went off 3 times. They will probably have to get that statement thrown out also.

  104. Gotta agree with this: "a policy preventing federal agents from leaving loaded weapons unsecured in their cars would absolutely have prevented the death" But I also gotta agree that turning this loser over to ICE would absolutely have prevent this death too!

    And what about the reports that the gun was fired at least three times, and that (whatever his name is) was trying to shoot at marine mammals in the bay.

    Why hasn't Loser copped a plea to Involuntary Manslaughter anyway?

  105. Earlier you said you could understand one accidental shot being fired. When they recovered the gun there was only one round was missing (according to James Norris, the ballistic expert). Your claim that there were three rounds fired appears to be false.

    Also, my research says there is no single action mode on that Sig. If the hammer was cocked it would then technically be in single action / double action mode ( sa / da ). It is incorrect for Tim to claim it was a "hair trigger," unless we know that the hammer was cocked and the gun was in sa/da mode.

    It is dubious to say that we don't know "why or how" the gun went off (if I was a juror I wouldn't buy that for a second). The chance that Sanchez Lopez did not squeeze that trigger is slim to none in my mind.

  106. <blockquote> All we know is that at some point, whoever stole the gun ditched it, wrapped in what might have been a T-Shirt, and left it on a bench on the waterfront.</blockquote>And we know that…how?????

    <blockquote>He is driven to San Francisco, because there’s an ancient warrant out for a really tiny drug arrest long ago. He’s booked into county jail — and within a day or two, the district attorney, no surprise, decides that the case is too old and minor to pursue.</blockquote>

    Wait…then who was the Sheriff who made the decision to give the guy a free ride to San Francisco when it was so obvious that he was not going to be prosecuted once he got here?

    How come Tim glossed over that point? Who was the Sheriff?

  107. Where has there been evidence that the gun was chambered? If they don't even know who stole the gun, who could say that the gun was chambered besides the officer who owned the gun, the thief, and/or the defendant?

    Also love Redmond's loaded use of the term military-grade, as if this was anything other than a standard semi-automatic pistol.