Kate Steinle was killed while walking on a San Francisco pier in 2015.

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Kate Steinle's Parents Cannot Sue City Officials Over Daughter's Fatal Shooting

KCBS Radio Midday News
March 26, 2019 - 11:15 am

The parents of Kate Steinle cannot sue San Francisco and the city's former sheriff Ross Mirkarimi for negligence over their daughter's killing by an undocumented immigrant, a federal appeals court upheld on Monday. 

Mirkarimi was acting within his discretion when he issued a 2015 memo limiting what information jail staff could share with federal authorities about undocumented immigrants in custody, the panel from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said. 

Steinle was killed while walking on Pier 14 in San Francisco on July 1, 2015 by a bullet from a gun held by Jose Ines Garcia Zarate. He had been released from the sheriff department's custody more than two months earlier. 

San Francisco had declared itself a "sanctuary city" since 1989 that forbids using city workers and funds to assist federal immigration offiicials unless required to do so by state or federal law. 

James Steinle and Elizabeth Sullivan, Steinle's parents, had alleged that Mirkarimi and the city were partly to blame because Immigration and Customs Enforcement was not informed about the impending release of Garcia Zarate. He's a Mexican citizen with a history of drug convictions and multiple deportations. 

A lower court had previously dismissed the lawsuit. 

A separate part of Steinle's parents' complaint can proceed, however. They have also sued the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, because the gun used in Steinle's killing had been stolen from a ranger's car. The parents claim the ranger had failed to properly secure the handgun. 

Garcia Zarate was acquitted in a San Francisco Superior Court trial of Steinle's murder, but was convicted of being an ex-felon in possession of a gun. He is appealing that conviction.

Related: Trial for Fatal Shooting of Kate Steinle