S.F. sheriff defends release of suspect Francisco Sanchez

S.F. sheriff defends release of suspect Francisco Sanchez

San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi has defended the early release of undocumented Mexican immigrant Francisco Sanchez, who killed a woman on a San Francisco pier.

Sanchez, a 45-year-old illegal immigrant from Mexico, fatally shot 32-year-old Kathryn Steidle on July 1 on Pier 14 in San Francisco. Just around four months ago, the shooter was in a Bay Area jail. The city's so-called 'sanctuary' law allowed him to be released from him jail and remain in the city.

The Department of Homeland Security, many high-profile politicians as well as law experts argued that the shooter should have been turned over to federal immigration officials for deportation to Mexico immediate upon his release from jail. But the city officials continue to insist that the decision to release Sanchez was right.

On Friday, Mirkarimi held a news conference and tried to set the record straight on the undocumented Mexican immigrant's release. He admitted that there was a lot of finger pointing to the city officials over the controversial release of the Mexican man.

Defending the city's decision, Mirkarimi said, "ICE did not provide the Sheriff's Department with a warrant or a judicial order to hold him for proceedings. Had ICE sought the requested legal order or warrant, the San Francisco Sheriff's Department naturally and will always comply."

Mirkarimi also said that there had been a significant amount of distortion or misunderstanding about the sequencing of events related to the man's release and the shooting of the woman. In a jailhouse interview, Sanchez admitted to the fatal shooting but claimed it was accidental.

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