UPDATE, 9/19: The sheriff’s deputy has been fired. Spokesperson Eileen Hurst states that they had been with the department less than a year, and was still on probationary status.
Despite increased attention from the media, several cases currently in court, and chiding admonitions from their bosses, it appears that government workers who are legally allowed to carry guns still haven’t learned their lesson about leaving said weapons in their vehicles. Bay City News reports on Monday that yet another gun was stolen from a car over the weekend — this time from a sheriff’s deputy, who was off-duty and driving a rental car. The gun was stored in the trunk when the theft took place around 6:30 p.m. on Sunday.
Sheriff Vicki Hennessy says she is taking the situation extremely seriously. “Preliminary information indicates the firearm was stored in violation of our policy,” she says. “Our department policy mandates that a firearm stored in a vehicle be stored in a metal or composite lockbox that is affixed to the interior of the vehicle and out of public view.”
The apparently easy accessibility of authorities’ guns has wreaked havoc in the Bay Area in the past couple years. Last week, the San Francisco Police Department identified a gun that was used in the Aug. 15 fatal shooting of 23-year-old Abel Enrique Esquivel Jr. as one that belonged to an officer.
Jose Ines Garcia-Zarate is heading to court in the next couple weeks for his involvement in the fatal shooting of 32-year-old Kate Steinle in July 2015. The gun used had been stolen from a U.S. Bureau of Land Management agent’s vehicle.
And in Sept. 2015 in Oakland, 27-year-old Antonio Ramos was shot and killed with a gun that had been stolen from an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent’s car weeks earlier. His family is now suing ICE for wrongful death.
To their credit, lawmakers have taken some steps to ensure these thefts and subsequent homicides don’t happen: Last year, a state law was signed requiring law enforcement officers store guns in a trunk or safe box if kept in vehicles.
But in a city that this year has seen a 28 percent increase in car break-ins, it may be time to question whether it’s safe to leave guns in cars altogether.