Mexican immigrant acquitted in shooting death of woman in San Francisco

Kate Steinle, 32 was killed in July 2015. Jose Ines Garcia Zarate was deported from the US fives times before the shooting authorities say

A jury on Thursday found a Mexican man not guilty in the killing of a woman on a San Francisco pier that touched off a national immigration debate two years ago, rejecting possible charges ranging from involuntary manslaughter to first-degree murder.

President Donald Trump said during the presidential campaign that Steinle's death was another reason the United States needed to build a wall on its southern border and tighten its immigration policies. Here's an ABC News report from 2015 in which he seems to admit to firing the shot that killed Steinle. Zarate's defense attorneys, Matt Gonzalez and Francisco Ugarte were both quick to connect the verdict to President Trump.

Gonzalez said Garcia Zarate found the semi-automatic handgun wrapped in a shirt under a chair on the pier - and it went off by accident when he picked it up.

Before the shooting, the San Francisco sheriff's department had released him from jail despite a federal immigration request to detain him for deportation.

Jose Ines Garcia Zarate had been deported five times and was wanted for a sixth deportation when Kate Steinle, 32, was fatally shot in the back in July 2015. Languishing in seventh behind his Republican competitors at the time, just two weeks into his campaign, Trump used Garcia Zarate's past-he had been deported from the US five times and had seven felony convictions, including drug charges-as proof of his campaign's anti-immigrant operating thesis.

The gun was stolen four days before the killing from the parked auto of a visiting Bureau of Land Management ranger.

Sessions says San Francisco's "decision to protect criminal aliens led to the preventable and heartbreaking death" of Kate Steinle.

The bullet's trajectory, which ricocheted off the pier's surface before hitting Steinle in the lower back, appears to support the claim that Garcia Zarate was not pointing the gun at her directly when it was sacked. The timing and specifics of Steinle's tragic death catapulted the case into the national spotlight as a cause célèbre for then-candidate Donald Trump, who seized upon the death of "beautiful Kate", as he referred to her on the stump. The city has been plagued by an epidemic of auto burglaries in recent years.

San Francisco became a sanctuary city in 1989. Under local sanctuary city rules, local law enforcement won't hold a person beyond the term of their incarceration. Instead of deporting him, federal authorities sent him to San Francisco on a 20-year-old drug warrant for a small amount of marijuana.

ICE also requested an immigration detainer so the agency would be notified if he was released. On April 15, 2015, Zarate was freed from the San Francisco County Jail.

He was homeless at the time of the shooting and had multiple felony convictions on his record as well as five prior deportations to Mexico. "It's disconcerting", Brad Steinle told CNN's Anderson Cooper.

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