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Pier 14 Shooting Suspect Gets Public Defender, Cancels All Jailhouse Interviews

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) - Arraignment for the man accused of randomly gunning down a woman last week on San Francisco's touristy Embarcadero has been delayed, and his newly-assigned public defender has told him to stop talking to the media.

Francisco Sanchez, 45, an undocumented immigrant with a long criminal history, had given two jailhouse interviews prior to the appointment of his attorney Monday, but he canceled a planned talk with KCBS News amid a growing national debate about any role that San Francisco's Sanctuary City policy may have played in allowing Sanchez to remain in the area.

Sanchez was detained near the Embarcadero shortly after allegedly shooting 32-year-old Kathryn Steinle at Pier 14 last Wednesday. Police said Steinle, who had recently moved to San Francisco, suffered a single gunshot wound to her torso and that the shooting appeared to be completely random.

Department of Homeland Security records indicate Sanchez had been previously deported five times, most recently in 2009, according to ICE spokesperson Virgina Kice. His criminal history includes seven prior felony convictions, four involving narcotics charges.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement had turned Sanchez over to authorities in San Francisco on March 26 on an outstanding drug warrant and asked the city to notify them when he got out, but they did not.

Freya Horne, counsel for the San Francisco Sheriff's Department, said Friday that federal detention requests are not sufficient to hold someone. Under the city's sanctuary ordinance, people in the country illegally aren't handed over to immigration officials unless there's a warrant for their arrest.

"There has been much discussion about San Francisco's Sanctuary City Policy in the aftermath of Kathryn's death. Let me be clear: San Francisco's Sanctuary City Policy protects residents regardless of immigration status and is not intended to protect repeat, serious and violent felons," San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said in a statement Monday. "I am concerned about the circumstances that led to the release of Mr. Sanchez. All agencies involved, Federal and local, need to conduct quick, thorough and objective reviews of their own departmental policies and the decisions they made in this case."

Sanchez is due back in court Tuesday for his rescheduled arraignment. KCBS's Doug Sovern reports that officials from the San Francisco Police Department are expected to comment further about the case after Sanchez is charged.

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