A man accused of shooting and killing a 32-year-old woman near the San Francisco Ferry Building on Wednesday had been deported five times for various felonies, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesperson said today.
Police arrested Francisco Sanchez, who was on probation out of Texas, on suspicion of killing Pleasanton resident Kathryn Steinle, according to San Francisco police.
ICE officials took custody of Sanchez in March, when he was remanded to the agency after serving a multi-year federal prison sentence for felony re-entry following deportation, ICE spokesperson Gillian Christensen said in a statement.
ICE turned Sanchez over to San Francisco police on March 26 on an outstanding drug warrant, Christensen said.
The agency requested he be returned to ICE’s custody upon his release, but that request was not honored, according to Christensen.
A spokesperson for the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department did not immediately return a request for comment.
Christensen said Sanchez had been deported five times, most recently in 2009. His criminal history includes seven prior felonies, including four involving narcotics, Christensen said.
Steinle was with her family around 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday at Pier 14, just off Embarcadero in the city’s South Beach neighborhood, when she was struck by gunfire, Sgt. Michael Andraychak said.
Andraychak said medics found her suffering from at least one gunshot wound to the upper torso and transported her to San Francisco General Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
No words were exchanged and Andraychak said there did not appear to be any connection between the victim and the suspect. He described the shooting as a “very random act.” Witnesses at the scene photographed the man and later their pictures helped lead to his arrest, Andraychak said. Sanchez was detained within an hour as a “possible person of interest” after police located him walking near the corner of Embarcadero and Townsend Street, a few block from Pier 14.
On Thursday, police were still working on determining his birth date, although he is believed to be 45 or 46 years old.