32 year old Kate Steinle was walking with her father in San Francisco. Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, age 54, allegedly shot her dead. Steinle’s father Jim testified that her last words were help me Dad as she held her arms out to her father. Zarate was arrested and is now on trial for her murder. Zarate was in the US illegally, and had been deported before. San Francisco is a Sanctuary City, which shelters illegal aliens by not enforcing, or minimally enforcing Federal immigration laws. The murder of Kate Steinle has been a motivating factor in the call for enforcement of existing immigration law, and the establishment of tougher immigration policies.
His defense attorney indicated that Zarate found the gun, a .40 caliber Sig Sauer semi-automatic handgun, wrapped in a T-shirt lying on a pier. The gun had been stolen from Bureau of Land Management ranger John Woychowski’s vehicle the prior week. Zarate picked it up, pointed it in the direction of Steinle, and pulled the trigger. He then threw it off the pier and into the water. Zarate’s attorney has made statements including the gun fired when he picked it up, and Zarate threw it in the water to make it stop firing.
This theory of the crime is implausible. The gun cannot fire by itself when picked up or dropped. It is an inanimate object, with safety features, which require a series of deliberate actions in order to fire it. The Sig Sauer produces seven types of semiautomatic handguns available in .40 Smith and Wesson. The P226, P229, P239, P320, 1911, SP2022, and the Legion series. Each is available in several subtypes, all of which have an external safety. External safeties are mechanical blocks which prevent the trigger from being depressed. The shooter must switch the safety from Safety to Fire, and pull the trigger in order to fire the gun. A semi-automatic handgun also cannot fire until the slide is pulled back, then cycled forward, which will extract a round from the magazine and insert it into the chamber, where it is aligned with the gun’s firing pin.
This never should have happened. Zarate had no business being in the US. He had been kicked out and illegally returned several times. Zarate acted with deliberate malice, aiming the weapon and murdering an innocent bystander, or acted with complete reckless disregard by discharging a weapon in a crowded public place. Either way, he needs to be held accountable. A young woman who was minding her own business, enjoying a walk with her father, is dead.