Police have arrested a man on probation out of Texas who is suspected of murdering a 32-year-old woman in broad daylight near the San Francisco Ferry Building on Wednesday.
San Francisco resident Kathryn Steinle was shot and killed on Pier 14, just off Embarcadero in the city’s South Beach neighborhood at about 6:30 p.m., San Francisco police spokesman Sgt. Michael Andraychak said.
Andraychak held a press conference this afternoon a few feet from the pier where Steinle was shot.
Despite the homicide that occurred less than 24 hours prior, tourists and joggers once again populated the pier area today.
Police have arrested a suspect, identified as Francisco Sanchez, in connection with the homicide. Andraychak said Sanchez is 45 or 46 years old and on probation out of Texas, but he declined to say what part of Texas Sanchez is from or what brought him to San Francisco.
Andraychak said that there “does not appear to be any connection between the victim and the suspect” and that the homicide “appears to be a very random act.”
He said a motive for the killing has not been determined.
Andraychak said that at about 6:30 p.m. Steinle was with her family about two-thirds of the way down the pier, “just out enjoying the day,” when she was struck by gunfire.
Medics responded to the pier and found Steinle suffering from at least one gunshot wound to her upper torso. Steinle was transported to San Francisco General Hospital, where she was later pronounced dead, according to Andraychak.
He said witnesses saw the suspected shooter and handed over photographs of the man to police.
Officers flooded the area and within an hour had detained Sanchez, who matched the description and photographs of a “possible person of interest.”
He was walking on the sidewalk near the corner of Embarcadero and Townsend Street, a few blocks away from Pier 14, when police detained him at about 7:25 p.m. Wednesday, according to Andraychack.
Investigators are still working to determine the suspect’s birth date and are in the process of fingerprinting him. A booking photo was not immediately being released, Andraychack said.
Andraychak said that it does not appear that any words were exchanged between Steinle and the suspect.
He said Steinle’s family resides in Pleasanton and that they are “distraught” over her death.
Andraychak said her family wanted the police department to relay a message to the public, expressing their gratitude to all the Good Samaritans who tried to help their daughter following the shooting and to all those who provided police with information about the suspect.
Andraychak said the weapon used in the shooting was not on Sanchez’s person when he was detained and that a dive team searched the water surrounding the pier for evidence. He said the divers retrieved something, but he wasn’t able to say what they found.
The safety of this busy tourist area was further brought into question today when two television news crews that were covering the homicide at the pier at about 6 a.m. today were robbed of their video cameras at gunpoint by three suspects, one of them wearing a ski mask.
The man also pistol-whipped a camera operator before fleeing in a suspect vehicle.
Andraychak said that while no arrests have been made in connection with the robbery of the camera crews, police have a photo of that suspect and have a suspect vehicle description along with license plate information.
Despite the homicide and the armed robberies of the camera crew, Andraychak stood on the pier today and said “This is a very safe place to be.” However, he encouraged anyone who sees something or someone out of place to report it.
Anyone with further information, photos or videos, including footage from surveillance systems, is asked to contact San Francisco police at (415) 575-4444 and may remain anonymous.
Hannah Albarazi, Bay City News