A federal judge on Monday dismissed a lawsuit against the U.S. government filed by the family of a woman fatally shot on a San Francisco pier in 2015 whose death became a flash point in the national debate over immigration policy.
The lawsuit filed by Kate Steinle’s parents alleged negligence on the part of the government because one of their employees, a federal park ranger, left the handgun that was later used to shoot their daughter unsecured in an SUV parked near the waterfront in San Francisco.
According to court filings, ranger John Woychowski had placed the gun inside a backpack in his locked SUV while he and his family went into a restaurant for dinner on a break from a drive from Southern California to Sacramento on June 27, 2015. When they returned to the car less than two hours later, two windows had been smashed and some of the family’s luggage — including the backpack with the handgun — had been stolen.
Four days later, attorneys for Jose Garcia Zarate contend he mistakenly picked up the gun, which was wrapped in a T-shirt, and it went off. The bullet ricocheted off the ground and struck Steinle in the back, mortally wounding her as she was walking along Pier 14 with her father.
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