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Sheriff Scott Jones: California's sanctuary state policies allowed deadly church shooting to happen

Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones says U.S. immigration policies and California’s Sanctuary State Laws are to blame for the deadly church shooting in Sacramento.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Nearly a week following the deadly church shooting in Sacramento that saw a father kill his three daughters and a man chaperoning a supervised visiting before turning the gun on himself, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones is pointing to U.S. immigration policies and California’s Sanctuary State Laws to blame.

"They’ll call me racist and evil," Jones wrote in a Facebook post. "But let me be perfectly clear, there is only ONE thing that allowed this horrific tragedy to occur with certainty: the deplorable state of our national immigration policies, and California’s Sanctuary State Laws."

Jones went on to say in the post, "liberals and activists will try and spin the narrative, dredge up sympathy for the monster that killed them, and talk about how this could have been prevented."

He then hits home the point that the shooter — David Mora — was in this country illegally.

"Because of California’s Sanctuary State laws, the jail is prohibited from accepting the detainer or communicating with ICE, so he walked out of jail a free man," Jones wrote. "Free to kill four people five days later."

The 2017 state law restricts local law enforcement's cooperation with federal officials except when immigrants are accused of very serious crimes.

Click here to read the full statement from Scott Jones.

Latest on the Investigation

Credit: Merced County Sheriff's Office
The Sacramento County Coroner's Office identified the shooter as David Mora Rojas, 39. This photo is from his Feb. 22 arrest in Merced County.

Immigration officials said on Friday that Mora was in the United States illegally.

A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman told The Associated Press on Friday David Mora overstayed his visa after entering California from Mexico in December 2018. 

The Merced County Sheriff’s Office said because of California's so-called sanctuary state law, it did not inform immigration officials last week that Mora had been arrested for punching an officer. 

The development provides a possible motive because Mora could have been deported, separating him from his daughters. Investigators aren't commenting.

Also on Friday, the Sacramento County's Sheriff's Office released details on the weapon calling it an "AR style rifle."   

"The firearm had no serial number or manufacturer markings and is what the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives refers to as a 'Privately Made Firearm,'" according to the statement.   "The rifle had an extended 30 round magazine inserted and 17 casings were found at the scene"

Under Democratic President Joe Biden, immigration officials put their priority for deportation on people whom they deem threats to public safety or national security or who recently crossed the border. That’s a departure from the Trump administration, which sought anyone in the country illegally for deportation.

Jones announced in January he is running as a Republican in California's 3rd Congressional District.

RELATED: Gunman who killed 3 daughters in church overstayed visa to stay in US

The Gutierrez family of the three young girls killed by their father released a statement for the first time Friday since the shooting at a Sacramento church.

“We would like to thank everyone for the love and support we have received this week. It has helped us greatly as we work to process the overwhelming sense of grief and loss we are experiencing. Moving forward, we understand and appreciate that there is a lot of interest in the story of our girls. But we are asking to be given some time and space to mourn in private, especially as we lay our loved ones to rest.”

Watch: Friday marks two years since Gov. Newsom declared COVID-19 state of emergency | Rynor Report

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