WASHINGTON (CNN)— Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said Friday that the seemingly random killing of a young woman in San Francisco was even more proof why voters should send him to the White House.
The shooting Wednesday evening of Kate Steinle on a city pier, police say, was committed by 45-year-old Francisco Sanchez, an undocumented immigrant and a repeat felon who had been deported five times to Mexico. Law enforcement officials told CNN that Sanchez was released by the San Francisco sheriff's department despite a request from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for an immigration detainer.
"This senseless and totally preventable act of violence committed by an illegal immigrant is yet another example of why we must secure our border immediately," Trump said in a statement Friday. "This is an absolutely disgraceful situation and I am the only one that can fix it. Nobody else has the guts to even talk about it. That won't happen if I become President."
Trump has positioned himself to the furthest right in the GOP's immigration debate, going as far as to say that some Mexicans crossing the border are "rapists" and "killers." Several of Trump's Republican rivals have criticized Trump's rhetoric, saying it is inappropriate and hurts the Republican Party's brand.
Despite the comments, Trump -- a new presidential entrant -- has climbed to the top of early-state and national polls.
"The American people deserve a wall to protect our jobs, economy and our safety. I am the only candidate who would build it," Trump said in his statement before returning to his slogan, "I will make America great again!"