SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU) - A neighborhood safety meeting was held Wednesday night in San Jose following the brutal killing of a San Jose mother allegedly carried out by an undocumented immigrant. The death of 59-year-old Bambi Larson has struck a chord with her neighbors and sparked controversy over the county's immigration policies.
“How safe are we out here?” said Nitin Miranda of San Jose. “It’s scary and you just can't trust anybody.”
There were flowers, candles and a moment of silence for Larson, who on February 28, was found stabbed to death inside her home. Police arrested 24-year-old Carlos Arevalo Carranza, who is a transient and undocumented immigrant from El Salvador.
“He had a crime record,” said Connie Schneider of San Jose. “He shouldn't have been on the street. He shouldn't have been able to do this to her or anyone.”
Surveillance video from neighbors captured Arevalo Carranza on their streets the night of the crime. Police said he was stalking Larson and the neighborhood.
Immigration authorities requested local law enforcement to detain Arevalo Carranza nine times. He has a long criminal history but the requests went unanswered.
“I can't understand,” said Ann Marshall of San Jose. “He's been arrested, why wasn't he turned over to ICE?”
“I’m frustrated certainly because this is something we've been talking for many years,” said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo.
The mayor is critical of the county for ignoring ICE’s requests. The county has said ICE didn't obtain a warrant, which the mayor disputes.
“It’s a simple pick up the phone and call the federal authorities,” said Liccardo. “There's no warrant required, no court has ever decided that. The notion that somehow a warrant should be required is at best diversionary and at worse blatantly misleading.”
The mayor said he’s working with county officials to change the policy so immigration authorities will be notified when violent criminals will be released from jail.
George Bisceglia was Larson’s friend. He’s angry Arevalo Carranza wasn't deported. He hopes something good will come out of her tragic death.
“I think everybody believes something needs to be done,” said Bisceglia. “There's obviously a disconnect somewhere.”
At the meeting, police spoke of the new burglary and street crimes units to help with public safety but the bigger concern surrounds immigration. As of now, it's unclear why Arevalo Carranza targeted Larson.