The gun used in an August slaying in San Francisco was apparently stolen from a car belonging to a police officer, according to Fox News, and one of the suspects may be in this country illegally.
The Associated Press identified two of the suspects, both 18, as Erick Garcia Pineda and Daniel Cruz. The dead man was identified as Abel Enrique Esquivel Jr.
If the accusations are correct, this is not the first time a stolen cop’s gun ended up involved in a Bay area homicide. As the AP recalled, the slaying of Kate Steinle on a San Francisco pier more than two years ago is the example most often cited, but another victim, Antonio Ramos, was killed last year.
And now comes an interesting defense strategy. Fox News quoted attorney Kwixuan Maloof, an attorney representing a man identified as Jesus Perez-Araujo, asserting, “the fact that it (the gun) was stolen out of a car probably means that it was not secure.”
The San Francisco Examiner indicated that a violation of local gun control might figure into this, if the gun taken from the officer’s car was not secured somehow.
This raises the question about how criminal suspects could be allowed to “spread the blame” for their own criminal acts. If a firearm, or any other property, is taken from a car without permission, that’s a crime. The officer in this case was identified by the newspaper as Marvin Cabuntala, a “highly decorated veteran of the San Francisco Police Department.”
Under San Francisco’s gun control laws, firearms left in cars must be in a lockbox attached to the vehicle, or stored in the trunk.
But what’s the difference? A firearm stolen out of a private vehicle is still stolen property. This one is described as a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver. Ammunition was also reportedly taken. Esquivel was killed a few days after the gun was stolen.
But attorney Maloof had this observation: “Guns stolen from vehicles put everybody in danger and nobody knows this better than the police. There’s information that a police officer had his gun stolen, and if that police officer did not secure his gun, he or she should be accountable.”
The case creates something of a dilemma for gun control advocates, same as the case of the stolen gun used in the Steinle slaying. If police violate local gun control laws, should they suffer the same consequences as a private citizen? However, if guns stolen from either police or private citizens were properly secured, why should they somehow be held responsible for a crime that may have been committed by the thief? The car owner is a crime victim.
And there’s another problem. This gun was not obtained through some mythical “gun show loophole.” It was the “gun theft loophole” that left this transaction without the mandatory background check required of law-abiding citizens exercising their Second Amendment rights.
Fox News also reported that Garcia Pineda may be an illegal alien who was wearing an electronic monitor placing him in the same neighborhood on the same day when Esquivel was murdered. The suspect is apparently claiming asylum here.