Arrest of suspect in San Jose woman's murder prompts ICE debate

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Police say that a man arrested for killing a woman inside her San Jose home is in the country illegally and has a long criminal history.

The mayor says this case should prompt a discussion.

RELATED: Police say suspect in murder of SJ woman was deported previously

San Jose police confirm that the 24-year-old suspect, Carlos Arevalo Carranza, is not only undocumented, but also a self-admitted gang member with a long history of arrests. He was deported by federal immigration agents in 2013 but returned to the U.S., committing a series of crimes.

"In 2015 he was arrested for paraphernalia. In 2015, he was convicted of burglary in San Jose. In 2016, battery of an officer, resisting arrest and entering and occupying a property," said SJPD Chief Eddie Garcia.

He was arrested for even more crimes as recently as two months ago. Now he is tied by DNA evidence to the brutal murder of 59-year-old Bambi Larson, whose was found slashed and beaten in her Knollfield Way home in San Jose on February 28.

RELATED: Police announce arrest in connection with murder of San Jose mother Bambi Larson

Police said Arevalo Carranza had cased the neighborhood and appeared to know where security cameras were, covering his face to avoid detection. However, one neighbor's security video does appear to show him on Knollfield Way in the early morning hours when Larson was killed.

Chief Garcia acknowledged that ICE had previously asked to take custody of him six times -- four times in Santa Clara County and two times in Los Angeles County. However, Santa Clara County has a policy of not cooperating with ICE.

Four years ago, Mayor Sam Liccardo sent a letter to county supervisors, seeking to revisit its ICE policy for violent felons. A representative of the mayor's office said his position has not changed. Chief Garcia said he believes his job is to protect everyone, and he does not want to get into a political fight.

Below is a statement released by Mayor Liccardo on Tuesday:

"This is a devastating tragedy-- and my thoughts and prayers go to Ms. Larson's family during this awful time. I'm grateful to Chief Eddie Garcia and our San Jose Police Department officers for their work in apprehending and arresting this individual and keeping our community safe.

It is long overdue for the County to reconsider its current policy of ignoring ICE hold requests for predatory felons, which undermines the safety of the very immigrant communities we collectively seek to protect. On July 10, 2015, I sent a letter urging County leaders to review their policies to ensure federal immigration authorities prosecute violent, predatory individuals who pose a serious threat to our residents.

My views were consistent with those expressed by Police Chief Eddie Garcia, and with the proposed policy of District Attorney Jeff Rosen, who sought to have the County accept ICE detainers for individuals, like the defendant in this case, arrested for prior first-degree home burglaries and other 'strike' offenses.

The County's policy has nothing to do with the City's decades-long policy of declining to have police engage in federal immigration enforcement, which was implemented to protect public safety. In contrast, the current County policy of ignoring detainer requests for individuals arrested for strike offenses and convicted of multiple felonies undermines public safety, and violates common sense. I hope we can restart this conversation to make progress where we all agree: we can both keep our City safe from violent criminals and protect our law-abiding immigrant community."
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