A man who used a handgun equipped with an extended magazine to threaten patrons of a San Francisco Safeway store was told he faces 70 months’ imprisonment in federal court today.
Julian Cisneros, 29, had earlier pleaded guilty to one count of ‘being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition’. The court heard that he had a lengthy track record of serious violence and was on post-release community supervision at the time of the offense.
“It’s a miracle to me that you didn’t kill somebody – it was blind luck,” U.S. District Judge James Donato told Cisneros this morning at a sentencing hearing.
On July 16, 2022 911 callers reported a man brandishing a gun at traffic and at people at the Safeway store at Mission and 30th streets. SFPD detained the defendant after a foot chase during which he carried the firearm in his right hand.
A loaded Glock pistol fitted with an extended magazine was recovered. The weapon had been stolen from an off-duty federal police officer.
Witnesses told police that Cisneros “put them in fear for their lives” – including a car driver who thought he was going to be shot and a woman who said she saw Cisneros point his weapon directly at a person’s head.
Witnesses further reported the defendant’s claim that he was a gang member.
Security camera footage presented to the court also recorded Cisneros brandishing the weapon earlier in the evening while walking up and down the street outside of a Mission District bar.
Prosecutors had previously told the court about the defendant’s lengthy rap sheet which includes “convictions for threats with intent to terrorize, unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition, four counts of inflicting corporeal injury on a spouse/cohabitant, and assault by means of force.”
In particular, they pointed out that in 2018 Cisneros’ girlfriend reported that, over a three week period, he beat her multiple times, tied her up with zip ties and took photographs of her in the fetal position pointing a loaded AR-15 automatic rifle at her head, used pliers to pinch her fingers and toes, and gagger her until she passed out.
She also described, prosecutors say, that Cisneros had previously stabbed her in the collar bone.
Cisneros was on post release community supervision at the time of the latest firearms offense.
“This is not a mere possession case,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelsey Davidson told the court this morning, “…[t]hese are extremely dangerous acts and, combined with his past violent history, the Government believes a low guidelines range is appropriate.”
“I can just imagine the terror of someone in their car and Mr Cisneros points a 9mm at their windshields,” said U.S. District Judge James Donato this morning in courtroom 11 of San Francisco federal courthouse.
“It’s a miracle to me that you didn’t kill somebody – it was blind luck.”
The judge announced he would impose a 70 months’ term of imprisonment, require three years of supervised release and forbid Cisneros for associating with any Norteno gang member.
“Right now you are a terrible danger to innocent people…one of the factors I take into account is protecting innocent people from people like you,” he said.
“70 months is an appropriate sentence that balances the severity and gravity of Mr Cisneros’ crime, and the serious threat he poses to others, and his youthfulness and ability to turn things around.”
The judge ordered attorneys for the defendant and the Government to return to court next week so he could additionally impose a warrantless search condition on Cisneros.
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