A Medtronic sales rep's tragic death has turned into a talking point in presidential politics, now that the news is out that an undocumented worker with a criminal record has been charged with the murder.
Medtronic sales rep Kathryn Steinle was enjoying a walk along San Francisco's scenic Embarcadero last Wednesday with her father and family friend when she was shot in the upper torso, the gunshot piercing her aorta, according to media reports. Her dad Jim Steinle immediately started CPR on the 32-year-old San Francisco resident before paramedics rushed her to San Francisco General Hospital, where she died two hours later,
"She just kept saying, 'Dad, help me, help me,'" Kate Steinle's mother Liz Sullivan told the San Francisco Chronicle. "It's just unbelievable. It's surreal. I don't think I've totally grasped it," said Sullivan, who had received a waterfront photo from her daughter only minutes before the shooting.
"We are saddened and shocked by this senseless act. Our thoughts and condolences are with Kate's family and friends," Medtronic said in an official statement relayed by a spokesman.
The story, however, is no longer just a story of senseless killing. Francisco Sanchez, who is charged with her murder, is an undocumented worker with a criminal record who has been deported back to Mexico multiple times. Sanchez admitted that he shot Steinle, but says it was a freak accident, according to an ABC 7 interview. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has used Steinle's death as proof that there needs to be a wall built between the United States and Mexico.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had wanted custody of Sanchez while San Francisco police had him in custody last March on an outstanding drug warrant, but police instead released him, according to ABC News. San Francisco is one of a number of so-called "sanctuary cities" across the country that have laws instructing police not to cooperate with immigration authorities unless they have a warrant, or state law requires them to.
"What about the undocumented immigrant with a record who killed the beautiful young women (in front of her father) in San Fran. Get smart!" Trump tweeted on July Fourth.
Trump had already created a stir with remarks that Mexico sends "rapists" and criminals to the U.S. "When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best," he recently said. (Check out this Salon article describing Fox's Bill O'Reilly trying to explain what he thought Trump really meant.)
Some other Republican candidates, including Jeb Bush, have frowned on Trump's remarks. Bush, whose wife is Mexican, even said he takes the remarks personally.
Some experts wonder whether the stances will hurt the eventual Republican nominee's prospects with the growing Hispanic vote in the United States.
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