Prayer service held for San Francisco Pier 14 shooting victim

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A prayer service was held at San Francisco's Pier 14 on Monday morning for a woman who killed last week in a seemingly random shooting. In an exclusive jailhouse interview, the suspect told ABC7 News that sleeping pills were to blame for his actions. In the meantime, the district attorney is working up the precise charges against him.

Mourners gathered at the site where Kate Steinle was killed. The Archdiocese of San Francisco arranges prayer services for every murder victim in the city within a week of their death. In addition to praying for the victim, he also prayed for the man accused of killing her.

Steinle's death has captured the attention of the nation both because of the location of her murder, which is a popular tourist spot, and also because of the man accused in the crime. Francisco Sanchez has a criminal record and has been deported to Mexico five times.

Reporter: "Did you shoot Kate Steinle, the lady who was down at Pier 14."
Sanchez: "Yes."
Reporter: "You did shoot her?"
Sanchez: "Mm hm," he said with a nod.

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Sanchez says he found a gun under a bench and when he picked it up he heard three booms. He says the shooting was an accident and didn't realize he had shot her until he was arrested about an hour later. Steinle was walking on Pier 14 with her father when she collapsed from the gunshot. From jail, Sanchez expressed remorse.

Sanchez: "Yeah, I'm feeling sorry for everybody."
Reporter: "You feel sorry for everybody? Including Kate Steinle's family?"
Sanchez: "Yeah."

Sanchez has set off a national debate over immigration. He has a criminal record and has been deported back to Mexico five times. He says he knew San Francisco was a sanctuary city for illegal immigrants. He was also looking for work.

Reporter: "Why did you keep coming back to the U.S., why did you come back to San Francisco?"
Sanchez: "Because I was looking for jobs in the restaurant or roofing, landscaping, or construction."

The Steinle family does not want to talk about Sanchez. Relatives said they had no comment when asked about his statements. Instead they want to focus on the Kate's memory.

"Kind, thoughtful, spiritual, deep, caring, loving, all those positives, just a beautiful woman," said the victim's father, Jim Steinle

Sanchez also said he doesn't remember the shooting. He says he was on sleeping pills, which he found in a dumpster.

The suspect will soon talk to a public defender as they begin working on his defense. The prosecution is working on the case against him and on the charges he will face.

Steinle's family has set up an online fundraising page to raise money for funeral costs and to collect donations for charities that were important to her. Click here for more information.

Click here for full coverage on the Pier 14 shooting.

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