SAN FRANCISCO, July 8 (UPI) -- The handgun used to kill a 32-year-old woman at a popular waterfront tourist spot in San Francisco may have been stolen from a federal agent weeks prior to the shooting.
The .40-caliber pistol used to kill Kathryn Steinle on July 1 may have been stolen from a Bureau of Land Management employee in a June car burglary, not long before Steinle was shot dead while walking with her father on Pier 14 on the Embarcadero, a popular San Francisco tourist pier.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported Tuesday that the weapon was not the agent's government-issued gun. It was recovered Thursday by law enforcement divers who described it as an expensive, high-end police gun.
Tuesday, the man suspected in the shooting, Francisco Sanchez, an undocumented Mexican immigrant who has been deported five times and a repeat drug offender, was ordered held on $5 million after pleading not guilty in the shooting death. He said the shooting was accidental. He is expected to return to court July 27.
"There is no motive whatsoever for this defendant to have caused any harm to the deceased," public defender Matt Gonzalez said in court. "He did not know her."
The shooting and subsequent arrest has sparked a nationwide debate about illegal immigration and San Francisco's lax deportation policies. Details of Sanchez's immigration status and the shooting became a lightning rod after Republican nomination hopeful Donald Trump used the case to bolster his comments last month about Mexican immigrants.