On August 28 the Contra Costa Times reported that an expert testifying in Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez’s preliminary hearing says the bullet that struck and killed Kathryn Steinle on San Francisco’s Pier 14 actually ricocheted off the pier “90 to 95 feet” before hitting her.
The bullet was a .40 caliber round that had been fired from a Sig Sauer handgun that had been stolen from a Bureau of Land Management agent, and the damage on the bullet apparently shows it struck concrete before changing trajectories and striking Steinle.
According to the Contra Costa Times, police “did not find the spot where they believe the fatal shot hit the pier surface until four days after the shooting.”
Police inspector John Evans said he believes “The gunman was seated in a chair on the pier 12 to 15 feet from the strike mark. He estimated that the bullet traveled another 90 to 95 feet ‘in a straight line’ before striking Steinle in the lower back as she walked with her arm around her father’s shoulder.”
If Evans’ summation is correct, that could mean Lopez-Sanchez was sitting in a chair aiming at the pier and intentionally firing the gun or handling it in a manner so as to accidentally pull the trigger. Lopez-Sanchez’s public defender Matt Gonzales asked San Francisco police criminologist Andy Smith, “If a bullet hit the ground before (ricocheting), would it be fair to conclude that that is where it was aimed?”
Smith answered by saying, “Yes.”
On July 7 Lopez-Sanchez told KGO-TV he did shoot Steinle, but he said it was an accident. He said he found the gun “lying on the ground wrapped in a T-shirt,” and that it “went off by accident when he picked it up.”
The judge in Lopez-Sanchez’ preliminary hearing is now trying to decide if there is enough evidence to actually hold Lopez-Sanchez for trial.
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