San Francisco

Gun Used in San Francisco Homicide Was Stolen From Police Officer's Vehicle: SFPD

San Francisco police officials said a gun used in a gang-related homicide was stolen from a police officer's vehicle.

Three suspects in the deadly shooting reported in August were arrested this week, police said. The suspects have been identified as Erick Garcia Pineda, 18, Jesus Perez-Araujo, 24, and Daniel Cruz, 18. All three men are San Francisco residents.

On Aug. 15, police responded to a reported shooting at an apartment on the 3200 block of 26th Street in San Francisco's Mission District. When officers arrived they found 23-year-old Enrique Esquivel Jr. suffering from apparent gunshot wounds. He was transported to a hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries.

During the investigation, police discovered the weapon used in the homicide was a personal firearm registered to a San Francisco Police officer that was stolen from his personal vehicle on Aug. 12.

Police officials said the department is conducting an internal investigation into the circumstance of the theft of the firearm.

Martine Halloran, president of the San Francisco Police Officers Association, provided the following statement on Wednesday:

"A few weeks ago, a vehicle belonging to an SFPD officer was burglarized and the officer's personal firearm was stolen, unbeknownst to him. There were no visible signs of the burglary, and the officer did not realize that the vehicle had been broken into, nor that the firearm had been stolen. Days after the burglary, that firearm was used in a gang-related homicide. The officer, a highly-decorated veteran, is devastated. He is working with the Department to fully comply with its investigation into this case."

Former San Francisco Supervisor David Campos wrote the city's secured weapons law last year with this very type of tragedy in mind.

"The idea was to make sure that every person in the city, every San Franciscan, knows if they have a responsibility if they have a gun and they leave it in a vehicle, it has to be secured," Campos said.

NBC Bay Area's Investigative Unit has found that between 2010 and 2015, 412 guns were stolen in San Francisco. Campos wrote the gun control law partly in response the July 2015 shooting death of Kate Steinle at Pier 14. She was killed with a gun stolen from a federal officer's vehicle.

"If anything, there's an expectation that police officer's would be held to a higher standard," Campos said.

All three suspects have been booked into San Francisco County jail. Investigators also said Pineda, Perez-Araujo and Cruz are tied to several robberies that occurred in the Mission District between Aug. 13-15.

Pineda was booked on charges of homicide, multiple counts of robbery, conspiracy, burglary and attempted murder. Perez-Araujo was booked on multiple counts of robbery, burglary and conspiracy. Cruz was booked on homicide, conspiracy, robbery and possession of stolen property charges.

Police are not releasing the suspects' booking photos at this time.

NBC Bay Area's Terry McSweeney contributed to this report.

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