On Wednesday morning, Andrew Bologna, the only survivor in a 2008 Excelsior District triple-homicide that spotlighted San Francisco's sanctuary ordinance, testified against suspected MS-13 gang member Edwin Ramos.
According to SF Appeal, Bologna pointed at Ramos during the tearful testimony and identified him as the shooter. "I saw him," he said. "He was staring at my dad, mugging him, giving him a mean look, and that's when he pulled out a gun. [...] They shot my family like that, it doesn't make any sense."
Bologna's mother Danielle sat in the front row and sobbed throughout the testimony.
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Bologna's father and two brothers were killed in the shooting, which occurred at an Excelsior District intersection while the family was driving home from a barbecue.
Allegedly, Ramos pulled up next to the Bologna's car and opened fire, killing his father and two brothers. Bologna ducked down in the car, saving his life. Prosecutors allege that Ramos, an undocumented immigrant who entered the country illegally as a child, mistook the family for members of a rival gang.
Ramos originally denied any involvement with the incident, but later admitted to driving the car and claimed that his passenger, Wilfredo "Flaco" Reyesruano, shot without warning. Reyesruano has since disappeared. Bologna testified that he did not see anyone else in the car during the shooting.
Outside the courtroom, Ramos' Defense Attorney Marla Zamora explained why her client changed his story to ABC.
"Would you want to take the rap for this horrible crime that you didn't do?" she argued. "That you didn't know it was going to occur even and be left holding the bag?"
Ramos is being charged with three counts of murder, gang membership and illegal use of a firearm, and faces life in prison without parole. He has pled not guilty.
The case has become especially high-profile in San Francisco not only because of its extremely violent nature, but also because it highlights the city's sanctuary ordinance. In San Francisco, the law prohibits city employees from helping Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) with immigration investigations or arrests unless such help is required by federal or state law or a warrant.
Even though Ramos had been in and out of the California penal system for much of his teenage years, San Francisco authorities never turned him over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement due a 1989 decision by the Board of Supervisors declaring San Francisco a "sanctuary city" for undocumented immigrants. Under such policy, local law enforcement is prohibited from turning undocumented immigrants in to authorities at the point of their arrest.
Many in law enforcement, such as former SFPD chief and current District Attorney George Gascon, support "sanctuary city" policies because they allow local police departments to maintain better relationships with communities comprised with high concentrations of undocumented immigrants.
The law was later amended in 1992 to allow the city to contact federal immigration officials in the case of an undocumented immigrant committing a felony; however, a loophole was left open for people under the age of 18, which is how Ramos was able to stay in the country after his two teenage assaults.
After the incident, Danielle Bologna unsuccessfully attempted to sue the City of San Francisco over its sanctuary city policy. In an exclusive profile and interview, San Francisco magazine detailed Bologna's personal struggle and the lawsuit that placed her squarely in the center of a heated political battle.
For more information about the trial, take a look at ABC's video below: