On Thursday, a San Francisco jury found Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, 45 — the five-time deported illegal immigrant who fatally shot Kate Steinle, 35 — "not guilty" of murder, involuntary manslaughter, and assault with a deadly weapon. Jurors acquitted Zarate of all charges but one: felony possession of a firearm. After the verdict, Zarate's attorney deliberately connected the verdict to President Trump, who has since responded.
Speaking to reporters outside the courthouse after the shocking verdict, Zarate's attorney, Matt Gonzales, went out of his way to connect the case to Trump, clearly anticipating the president's response to the verdict.
"There are a number of people who have commented on this case in the last couple years — the Attorney General of the United States, the President and Vice President of the United States — let me just remind them that they are themselves under investigation by a special prosecutor in Washington, DC," said Gonzalez, CNN reports. "They may themselves soon avail themselves of the presumption of innocence and beyond a reasonable doubt standard. And so I would ask them to reflect on that before they comment or disparage the results of this case."
Trump indeed responded — and he did so forcefully.
"A disgraceful verdict in the Kate Steinle case! No wonder the people of our Country are so angry with Illegal Immigration," wrote Trump in a series of tweets. "The Kate Steinle killer came back and back over the weakly protected Obama border, always committing crimes and being violent, and yet this info was not used in court. His exoneration is a complete travesty of justice. BUILD THE WALL! ... The jury was not told the killer of Kate was a 7 time felon. The Schumer/Pelosi Democrats are so weak on Crime that they will pay a big price in the 2018 and 2020 Elections."
Trump has repeatedly spoken about the tragic shooting of Steinle by an illegal immigrant who had been shielded just three months before by San Francisco's "sanctuary city" policies — policies Trump has taken executive action to ban, citing Steinle's death as evidence of the danger they pose.
Garcia Zarate was not only illegally in the country, he had been deported five times and should have been handed over to immigration authorities months earlier, but San Francisco's "sanctuary policies" allowed him to go free.
Three days before jurors acquitted Garcia Zarate of all but the possession charge, a federal judge in San Francisco permanently blocked Trump's executive order cutting federal funding to cities that did not cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
The Daily Wire's Hank Berrien provides more details on Steinle's tragic death:
On July 1, 2015, Steinle, 35, was walking with her father Jim and a family friend along Pier 14, a tourist attraction area in the Embarcadero district in San Francisco. Jose Inez Garcia Zarate, an illegal immigrant who had been deported from the U.S. five times, most recently in 2009, and was on probation in Texas at the time, was wandering around the pier, and fired one shot from a .40 caliber SIG Sauer P239 handgun that had a seven-cartridge magazine.
While the prosecution argued that Garcia Zarate intentionally shot Steinle, the defense maintained that the gun, which he had stolen from a Bureau of Land Management ranger's vehicle, accidentally went off, ricocheting off the concrete pier and fatally striking Steinle in the back.
This article has been updated to include more of Trump's response.