LA TIMES: It's Legal To Shoot Somebody At A Tourist Attraction If It's An Accident
Print Friendly and PDF

From the Los Angeles Times:

Robin Abcarian: The verdict in the Kate Steinle murder trial was shocking but fair. Jurors put facts over politics.


DEC 02, 2017 | 4:00 AM

Garcia Zarate’s public defenders argued that he found a loaded gun, stolen four days earlier from the locked car of a federal Bureau of Land Management ranger, and accidentally fired it while sitting on Pier 14.

They said the bullet struck the pavement before ricocheting nearly 80 feet, striking Steinle in the back. Jurors, to their credit, put aside the political noise and judged the case on its facts.

They decided that the death of Kate Steinle, a joyful young woman who deserved a long, full life, was an accident.

I believe the verdict was just.

Uh, you know, accidentally killing a human being by discharging a firearm at a tourist attraction, whether aiming at a seal or whatever, is a crime. Or maybe not. If I go down to the crowded Santa Monica Pier tomorrow and shoot off a gun and if it happens to ricochet before it kills somebody, well, it was an accident so whaddaya whaddaya?

In late October, I attended the trial’s opening arguments. I thought then, and still do, that the ranger who left his loaded gun in a part of San Francisco where parked cars are frequently targeted by thieves bears some responsibility for the chain of events that led to Steinle’s death, though I don’t think he should be charged with a crime. …

In early November, the defense presented a grainy surveillance video that captured both the shooting and what occurred on Pier 14 the hour before. Half an hour before Steinle was shot, six people could be seen huddling around a swiveling metal chair.

For nearly 30 minutes, they repeatedly bent down around the base of the chair “setting down and then picking up blurry objects,” said KQED reporter Alex Emslie, who watched the video in court.

As we all know, criminals with hot guns they’ve stolen are notorious for disposing of them by setting them down under chairs at tourist attractions next to the ocean. They would never throw the stolen gun into the ocean like Garcia Zarate did or drop it in a trash bin. They just put them down under chairs in touristy spots.

… Understandably, they are angry that federal officials returned Garcia Zarate to San Francisco in 2015 to face a 20-year-old marijuana charge when they could have, and should have, deported him. The feds, after all, were aware of San Francisco’s “sanctuary” policy, in which its sheriff refused to communicate with federal immigration authorities. They must have known local prosecutors would drop such a minor case and put the homeless immigrant back on the street.

It’s almost as if the Obama Administration had been on the side of undocumented immigrants like Garcia Zarate.

[Comment at]
Print Friendly and PDF