(CN) - San Francisco is not liable for the senseless murders of a man and his two sons, allegedly committed by an illegal immigrant with a history of gang-related offenses, a California appeals court ruled. The victims' family claims the deaths would have been prevented but for a local policy that gives illegal immigrants safe harbor.
Anthony Bologna and his sons, Michael and Matthew, were sitting in traffic when they were allegedly shot and killed by illegal immigrant Edwin Ramos.
A third son, Andrew, was in the car and witnessed the killings but was not shot.
The Bologna family alleged that Ramos is a Salvadoran citizen and member of the gang Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, which they say sometimes commits murders for no other reason than to spread "terror and fear" in pursuit of a larger share of the illegal drug trade.
They also claim that their family members were targeted because they appeared to be Latino but were not members of the MS-13 gang.
Danielle Bologna and her family claimed that the San Francisco governments illegally provided sanctuary to illegal immigrants because its policy shielded Ramos from deportation in violation of federal and state law.
The trial court ruled in favor of the government, and division three of the state's first appellate district in San Francisco agreed.
"We conclude, as did the trial court, that the alleged breaches of those statutes support neither a legally viable claim of negligence per se ... nor breach of mandatory duties," Justice Peter Siggins wrote on behalf of the court.
Read the Top 8
Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.