The July 2015 killing of Kate Steinle with a federal agent's stolen gun grabbed national headlines, as is often the case when the victim is an attractive white woman. Far less attention was paid to another murder two months later, when 27-year-old Antonio Ramos was shot while working on a mural under the 580 overpass in West Oakland and the assailant’s gun turned out to be stolen from an ICE agent’s car. That case quickly faded from public attention, but the family won’t let tragedy pass without a fight. This week they sued the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for wrongful death in a San Francisco federal district court, KQED reports.
The Ramos family has previously filed an administrative claim against ICE in 2016 for “fail[ing] to train their employees” to “follow mandatory regulations, policies and/or procedures for securing and storing a firearm,” but ICE rejected that claim in February. Alleged assailant Marquise Holloway had prior felonies and was not eligible for a gun permit, but happened upon this particular firearm sitting in plain view in an ICE agent’s rental car in San Francisco.
“From what we know, the gun was left in a bag in plain sight in a car parked in the SOMA neighborhood, which is a high-theft, high-crime area,” the Ramos’ attorney Alison Cordova said in a statement. “It wasn’t in a lock box or secured or even put in the trunk of the car. These are all steps that could have been taken to keep a lethal firearm out of the hands of a known-gang member and prior convicted felon.”
Now clearly, ICE did not know the gun would end up in the hands of gang member and felon, but the agency has had a series of tragicomic mishaps with lost guns. ICE declined comment to several media organizations after the lawsuit was filed Thursday.
“The goal at the end of the day is a policy change to make sure that this doesn’t happen again,” Cordova told CBS 5. “Or at least, not at the barrel point of a government firearm.”