This week we learned more about the murder of 23-year-old Abel Enrique Esquivel, Jr., which happened on August 15 near the intersection of South Van Ness and 26th Street, and which involved a gun stolen from an SFPD officer's personal vehicle three days before. Now further details reveal that two out of three suspects were undocumented immigrants, one of whom, 18-year-old Erick Garcia-Pineda, was wearing an ICE-issued ankle bracelet that was tracking his every move at the time of the killing, and another, 24-year-old Jesus Perez-Araujo, had been arrested several months earlier and ICE had issued a detainer request for him to the Sheriff's Department that the department did not honor, due to the city's sanctuary city policy.
As the Chronicle reports, Perez-Araujo was "arrested in May on suspicion of possessing marijuana for sale, [and] was charged in court with a single misdemeanor count of possession of brass knuckle sand released shortly thereafter." The charge did not warrant any special exception to the sanctuary policy, and therefore Perez-Araujo was released back into the community, and along with Garcia-Pineda and 18-year-old Daniel Cruz, he's now suspected of committing several robberies in the Mission in mid-August, as well as killing Esquivel.
As you can imagine, critics of SF's progressive policy on undocumented immigrants are already seizing on the killing and making comparisons to the 2015 murder of Kate Steinle, for which undocumented immigrant Jose Ines Garcia Zarate is about to stand trial.
"What makes this so tragic is that it might have been prevented if San Francisco did not have such an egregious sanctuary policy. How many deaths is it going to take before people realize this is a mistake?” says Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, speaking to the Chronicle.
The ankle bracelet situation is confusing, but here is the Chron's take:
In April, an immigration judge released Garcia-Pineda while his court case continued, on condition that he “wear a GPS monitoring bracelet and report to ICE in-person on a regular basis,” [ICE spokesman James] Schwab said. He said Garcia-Pineda complied until August, when he missed a mandatory appointment with ICE.
Later, after the killing but before Garcia-Pineda had been linked to it, he was booked into jail twice in San Francisco in unrelated cases, officials said. He was arrested Aug. 18 on suspicion of shooting at an inhabited dwelling and assault with a firearm, and arrested Sept. 3 on suspicion of misdemeanor battery. He was not charged by prosecutors in either case, and was freed.
Sheriff’s deputies at the jail appear to have removed Garcia-Pineda’s ankle monitor before releasing him the first time, again underscoring the frayed relationship between ICE and local officials. ICE said the GPS tracker was removed Aug. 19, when an agency contractor responsible for monitoring individuals received a “tamper alert.”
It’s not clear why ICE did not immediately respond to the location of the alert, but officials said the agency later could not track down Garcia-Pineda.
Though the Sheriff’s Department would not comment on Garcia-Pineda’s case specifically, officials said deputies would remove any inmate’s ankle monitor during booking. The disconnection typically alerts the monitoring agency.
Though many crimes are committed by people who are not immigrants, the circumstances here paint a narrative that is tailor-made for conservative outrage. Brace yourselves for much more news on this case.