Federal Agent whose stolen gun was used in Steinle murder might not testify

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A federal agency is trying to block a subpoena demanding one of its agents testify about his stolen handgun that was used to fatally shoot Kate Steinle on San Francisco pier two years ago. (KGO-TV )

The defense attorneys for Juan Francisco Lopez Sanchez who is charged with Kate Steinle's murder say the Bureau of Land Management might not allow the agent whose stolen gun was used in the murder to testify.

RELATED: Bench honors woman shot, killed at San Francisco's Pier 14

Lopez Sanchez has said he found the gun wrapped in a t-shirt under a bench at Pier 14. The bullet he fired from that gun ricocheted off the pavement and hit Steinle.

When Lopez Sanchez' trial begins his attorneys say they want to ask the Bureau of Land Management's federal agent John Woychowski about his gun stolen from his vehicle while he was off duty, but they say the Bureau of Land Management is telling them the federal agent is not subject to a state criminal court subpoena.

"There's a certain degree of arrogance here on behalf of the Bureau of Land Management which I have to ask do taxpayers want a federal agency to be working to try to stop us from calling a witness or not providing us with information," said defense attorney Matt Gonzalez.

"He knows about the condition in which the weapon was stored the history of the weapon itself," said defense attorney Francisco Ugarte.

In a letter sent to the Public Defender's Office yesterday the U.S. Department of the Interior outlined its regulations relating to subpoenas. The Bureau of Land Management is a bureau of that department.

"There is a process whereby we can ask permission to call him as a witness and agency would decide whether or not they want to abide by it," said Gonzalez.

RELATED: Kate Steinle's family files federal lawsuit over her death

A spokesperson for the District Attorney's office did not offer a position on this issue today.

"This case is going to be prosecuted in court and those issues will be hashed out in court," said Alex Bastian.

Lopez Sanchez' trial date could be set as early as next Friday.

ABC7 News reached out to the Bureau of Land Management for a comment, they directed us to the Department of Justice. A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney's Office said he could not comment on pending litigation.

Click here for the latest stories in the Pier 14 shooting.

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pier 14 shootingimmigrationshootingcrimemurderhomicide investigationhomicideathletesrunningSan Francisco
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