SAN FRANCISCO, CA — The federal government has filed immigration and gun charges against Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, the illegal immigrant found not guilty last week in the murder of Kate Steinle.
Garcia, who had been deported from the U.S. after illegally crossing the border five separate times, was acquitted of first and second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter on Thursday despite having admitted to the killing.
“A federal grand jury indicted Jose Inez Garcia-Zarate today for being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, and for being an illegally present alien in possession of a firearm and ammunition,” read a statement released by the Department of Justice.
The move comes after President Donald Trump, who had campaigned heavily on the promise of cracking down on illegal immigration, spoke out angrily against the verdict, calling the acquittal “disgraceful” and a “travesty of justice”.
“No wonder the people of our Country are so angry with Illegal Immigration,” the president tweeted.
Steinle, 32, was fatally shot on San Francisco’s Pier 14 on July 1, 2015 while walking along the pier with her father.
After being shot, Steinle pleaded with her father to help her. She died shortly thereafter in her father’s arms as the pair waited for help to arrive.
“San Francisco’s policy of refusing to honor ICE detainers is a blatant threat to public safety and undermines the rule of law,” ICE Deputy Director Tom Homan said in a statement posted to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement website after the verdict was announced (https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/ice-deputy-director-tom-homans-statement-verdict-steinle-case). “This tragedy could have been prevented if San Francisco had simply turned the alien over to ICE, as we requested, instead of releasing him back onto the streets. It is unconscionable that politicians across this country continue to endanger the lives of Americans with sanctuary policies while ignoring the harm inflicted on their constituents. Following the conclusion of this case, ICE will work to take custody of Mr. Garcia Zarate and ultimately remove him from the country.”
If convicted of either charge, Garcia-Zarate could face a maximum of ten years in jail.