The .40 caliber bullet recovered from Kate Steinle's body was a hollowpoint design. It appears to have entered her body while tumbling after ricocheting off Pier 14's paved surface.
The Sig Sauer pistol was stolen from a federal Bureau of Land Management ranger in San Francisco on June 27, 2015, four days before the homicide. His vehicle was locked.
The gun was out of sight, in a holster in a backpack. The rear passenger window had been smashed in. The pistol was legally secured according to agency policy.
“My fiancee yells out, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe this,’ ” Woychowski testified. “The back-seat passenger side window was smashed out.”
He said he called 911 and also reported the theft to his own agency. A BLM investigation found the way he transported and stored the gun did not violate the agency’s policy at the time, and he was not disciplined.
It is easy to understand how even a federal agent could be intimidated into not carrying a gun in San Francisco, when he was not on duty. One of the problems exacerbated by policies that create gun free zones, is they encourage people to store guns in vehicles. That facilitates the theft of the guns.
The pistol was fired once. The bullet that hit Kate Steinle in the lower back was traveling upward when it hit her.
The .40 caliber bullet hit Pier 14's paved surface about 12-15 feet from the shooter's position, then ricocheted into Kate Steinle's back 90-95 feet further down the pier. Kate Steinle and the illegal alien shooter were about a hundred feet apart when the shooting occurred.
Evans said he believed 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.
The entrance wound in Kate Steinle's back was elongated, indicating the bullet was destabilized and tumbling when it hit her.
He said that due to the “rectangular” shape of the entry wound, before the bullet entered the victim's body, it either ricocheted off a hard surface, traveled through something, or there was a defect with the barrel of the gun.
He said, in his expert opinion, that it was consistent with a ricocheted bullet.
A photograph of the bullet, which normally would be cylindrical, shows that the one taken from Steinle's body is crushed and covered in striations.
The Sig Sauer P239 is a modern, safe firearm. It will not fire unless the trigger is pulled. The defense argument in the Kate Steinle case is the shooter did not intend to fire the pistol.
The jury seems to have accepted that argument. The shooter has been found not guilty of all charges except the illegal possession of the firearm by a convicted felon.
©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30-year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.