The gun stolen from an officer with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in San Francisco and allegedly used in the murder of Oakland muralist Antonio Ramos was just one of more than 144 firearms lost or stolen from ICE agents since 2005, according to records NBC Bay Area's Investigative Unit obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
Three of those guns, including the one that killed Ramos, were stolen in the Bay Area, according to the records.
NBC Bay Area's Investigative Unit requested records pertaining to lost or stolen firearms from law enforcement agencies at the local, state and federal level after it was revealed the gun used to kill Kate Steinle along San Francisco's Pier 14 was reportedly stolen from a Bureau of Land Management ranger. ICE provided records on the agency's lost and stolen guns last week as part of that NBC Bay Area investigation, which uncovered at least 379 firearms reported lost or stolen by six Bay Area law enforcement agencies since 2010, and an additional 35 guns the California Highway Patrol reported lost or stolen.
Ramos is the fourth person to be killed in the Bay Area with a stolen gun since July, and the second to be killed with a gun allegedly stolen from a federal law enforcement officer. In October, a Canadian tourist and a man hiking with his dog near Fairfax were shot dead in separate incidents with a gun stolen from a parked car near Fisherman's Wharf, according to the San Francisco Police Department. Three drifters were arrested in connection to those murders.
"A duty weapon belonging to an officer with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Removal Operations was stolen Sept. 13 in San Francisco from a vehicle being used by the officer," ICE said in a statement. "The theft was properly reported to local authorities and through official federal channels. The matter is currently under investigation by ICE's Office of Professional Responsibility."
The issue of stolen guns had caught the attention of elected officials even before news broke that Ramos has been killed with a stolen gun. Just last week, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Public Safety Committee considered a proposal that would enhance a law addressing the trend of guns being stolen from parked cars. The amendment, proposed by Supervisor Davis Campos, would require anyone leaving a gun in a parked car to keep it in the trunk or place it in a lock box. Campos cited NBC Bay Area's investigation to reinforce the need for the proposal.
"Each stolen gun is capable of unleashing unspeakable suffering and pain in our communities," Campos said at a news conference last week. "Securely locking up dangerous weapons is simply common sense."