San Jose police chief: Sanctuary policies shielded a suspected murderer from deportation six times

Monday, San Jose police arrested 24-year-old Carlos Eduardo Arevalo Carranza for the murder of 59-year-old Bambi Larson. Police believe Carranza stalked the victim before breaking into her home and stabbing her to death. Her body was discovered by her son and a co-worker after she didn’t show up for work. From KPIX 5 in San Francisco:

Neighbors said various cameras showed a suspicious man walking around the neighborhood around 4:30 a.m., who was constantly looking over his shoulder on the day Larson’s body was discovered.

The coroner’s office said Larson died from “sharp force injuries to the neck and torso,” which is consistent with reports of a bloody crime scene.

This is far from the first time Carranza has been arrested. Yesterday, San Jose police chief Eddie Garcia outlined Carranza’s rap sheet. “In February of 2013, he was detained by the Departement of Homeland Security at the border near McAllen, Texas and deported,” Garcia said. He continued, “In 2014 he was arrested for possession of 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. In October of 2016, he was arrested for battery in the city of Los Angeles.

“In 2017 he was arrested and convicted for false imprisonment in San Jose. On April of ’18, he was arrested for paraphernalia again. In May he was arrested for possession of methamphetamine and possession of paraphernalia. On August of ’18, he was arrested for prowling and stimulant influence. On October of ’18, he was arrested for false identification and paraphernalia once again, prowling and trespassing while a resident was present. And in January of this year, he was arrested for possession of methamphetamine and paraphernalia.”

If you’ve lost count, that’s 10 arrests after he was deported. Six of those times, ICE asked the police to hold Carranza so they could pick up this homeless drug addict rather than have him be released back onto the streets. But according to Chief Garcia, police ignored those detainer requests because of sanctuary policies. “Let me be clear, we are here to protect and embrace our otherwise law-abiding undocumented residents. We are not here, nor should we be here, to shield admitted gangsters or violent criminals regardless of immigration status,” Garcia said.

Later, during a Q&A, Garcia added, “Most of you know me, I’m not a sit in my office type of chief. I will go out and I will speak to our undocumented residents and I will look them in the eye and they have told me that they don’t want these individuals living next to them either…This isn’t about politics. This is about public safety.”

Paul Kelly, the head of the San Jose Police Officers Association, told KPIX, “This should have never happened, not in a million years. We have to change the laws that protect monsters like this suspect.”

It’s hard to argue with that. Carranza was a homeless drug addict who stole from people in order to feed his habit. He had already been deported once meaning it should have been a simple matter to deport him again and stop him preying on Californians, but instead California’s sanctuary policies shielded him. To be clear, the state sanctuary policy only took effect in Jan. 2018 but Los Angeles and other areas have had sanctuary policies in place much longer. The bottom line is this: If not for those policies, Carranza would have been handed to ice and deported before the (alleged) murder of Bambi Larson.

Finally, there’s another angle worth noting here too. Chief Garcia was asked during the Q&A why Carranza was on the streets given all of his arrests and the fact that he was on probation already. Garcia said he couldn’t answer that but explained that issuing penalties for crimes was not part of his job. It makes me wonder if the fact that Carranza was homeless played into this as well. As we’ve seen in Seattle, the justice system has become a revolving door for people like Carranza out of an apparent desire not to criminalize homelessness. So he may have been shielded from more serious consequences for two reasons. If so, that’s a shame and something else that needs to change.

Here’s the statement by Chief Garcia. Below that is a local news report about the Larson murder: