The parents of Kathryn Steinle, the woman allegedly shot and killed by a Mexican national who had been deported multiple times, expressed support during a televised interview Monday for a proposed law that would require prison time for those who return to the U.S. illegally after being deported.
Steinle, 32, was walking along San Francisco’s waterfront with her father on July 1 when police say she was shot by Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, a man who has seven felony convictions and had been deported five times.
Jim Steinle and Liz Sullivan, both of Pleasanton, Calif., told Fox News host Bill O’Reilly that their daughter’s death has energized them to prevent future crimes by those in the U.S. without documentation.
“We feel the federal, state and cities -- their laws are here to protect us, but we feel that this particular set of circumstances and the people involved, the different agencies let us down,” Jim Steinle said on "The O’Reilly Factor."
Both expressed support for O’Reilly’s proposed “Kate’s Law,” which would impose a five-year federal prison term on those who return to the U.S. illegally after being deported. O’Reilly is collecting signatures for the measure.
“You want to make it so much better for everybody in the United States that this -- as you say, would never happen again,” Sullivan said.
The interview shed new details about Kathryn Steinle's final moments. Jim Steinle said he heard a pop, then his daughter -- who had recently moved to San Francisco for a job -- fell to the ground.
“What did she say before she went down?” O’Reilly asked Jim Steinle.
“Help me, Dad,” he said. Later, he recalled, “We had some kind souls come over, you know, gave her mouth to mouth and did all they could.”
Lopez-Sanchez, 52, pleaded not guilty last week to one count of murder with firearm enhancements. His attorneys contend the shooting was accidental.
In an interview with KGO-TV, Lopez-Sanchez said that he had found the gun wrapped in a T-shirt on the ground near a bench and that it had accidentally fired when he touched it. He also said he had taken powerful sleeping pills.
Officials from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management confirmed last week that the gun used in the shooting had been reported stolen from the vehicle of a federal law enforcement officer four days before Kathryn Steinle’s killing.
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