Suspect in stabbing spree that left 2 dead reportedly deported three times prior to arrest
Two issues have dominated American political discourse this year: the coronavirus, its aftermath and efforts to combat it, as well as criticism from liberals about America’s supposed “systemic” racism.
But a horrific crime in California may revive the dormant debate of President Donald Trump’s signature issue: immigration.
In San Jose, Calif., Mayor Sam Liccardo and police Chief Eddie Garcia have appealed to Santa Clara County officials to repeal the community’s self-imposed designation as a “sanctuary city.” In those locales, officials have declared their refusal to cooperate with the federal government in policing illegal immigration.
On Nov. 22, a 32-year-old homeless illegal immigrant, Fernando Jesus Lopez-Garcia, allegedly stabbed five people at Grace Baptist Church. Two were killed, and three others were injured. Four of the victims were also homeless, and one was a city employee. Authorities charged Lopez-Garcia with two counts of murder, and three counts of attempted murder, according to Fox News.
Local media reported that the suspect, a Mexican national, had been deported three times.
The suspect, 32-year-old Fernando Jesus Lopez, allegedly stabbed five people at Grace Baptist Church, killing two and injuring three on Nov. 22.
HAD BEEN DEPORTED THREE TIMEShttps://t.co/wccXuRVYlZ
— ugh… maybe (@michaelallenmar) November 30, 2020
In response to the tragedy, Mayor Liccardo and Chief Garcia appealed for help.
“Currently, the Santa Clara County policy prohibits responding to immigration detainers, which allowed the suspect to be released,” Garcia told reporters at a press conference. “I received the question, ‘What could have prevented this tragedy?’ I won’t point to a single thing, but rather a multitude of tools and opportunities that were not utilized or failed.”
David Jennings, the field director for removal operations at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in San Francisco, was not so hesitant to identify a cause. “Regrettably,” he said, “politics continues to prevail over public safety, the detainers were ignored, and De Jesus Lopez-Garcia was released to the street.”
“Here we have catastrophic proof of the abject failure of California’s sanctuary policies,” Jennings added. “The only person this policy protected was a criminal; permitting him to reoffend over and over again. Had those immigration detainers been honored, or had ICE been notified on any of the other multiple occasions he was arrested and released from local jails, we would have taken him into custody.”
That was in reference to Lopez-Garcia’s lengthy criminal history. His record, according to Fox News, includes convictions for disturbing the peace, giving false information to police, resisting arrest and assault with a deadly weapon. The latter ended with Lopez-Garcia going to prison for two years.
At the time of the church attacks, Lopez-Garcia faced a misdemeanor domestic violence charge based on his arrest in June. Prosecutors had opposed his release
The mayor noted that “multiple system failures” have accompanied Santa Clara’s policy.
Fox News noted that Bambi Larson, a 59-year-old San Jose woman, was killed in March 2019 by another illegal immigrant, Carlos Eduardo Arevalo Carranza, who also had been arrested multiple times. Carranza, who reportedly had gang connections, had been deported in 2013, and local officials ignored multiple ICE detainer requests.