Defendant in Kate Steinle case indicted on federal firearm possession charges

Flowers and a portrait of Kate Steinle killed 2 1/2 years ago as she walked on a San Francisco pier with her father remain at a memorial site on Pier 14 in San Francisco weeks after her July 2015 death. Last week's jury verdict acquitting undocumented

Defendant in Kate Steinle case indicted on federal firearm possession charges

A federal grand jury on Tuesday indicted the illegal immigrant killer of Kate Steinle on gun charges.

Last week, a San Francisco jury acquitted Zarate of murder and manslaughter in the 2015 shooting death of Steinle.

Months before Kate Steinle's murder, San Francisco authorities released Jose Zarate from custody, ignoring a request from federal authorities to turn him over to ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement).

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Zarate was acquitted last week in Steinle's death.

Public defender Matt Gonzalez said someone else had wrapped the weapon in a T-shirt and left it under the bench at the pier, where Garcia Zarate, who had been living on the streets since his release, stumbled upon it.

Kathryn Steinle, a 32-year-old medical device saleswoman, was shot dead while she was on a San Francisco Pier on July 1, 2015. The bullet had ricocheted off the concrete walkway before striking Steinle, they pointed out. The Mexican national, Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, will face new immigration and gun charges. The case has drawn national attention since then-presidential candidate Donald Trump seized on Garcia Zarate's history of deportations and illegal re-entry in the U.S.to criticize so-called sanctuary cities like San Francisco. He was indicted on one count each of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition and being an illegally present alien in possession of a firearm and ammunition.

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George Gascón, district attorney for the city and county of San Francisco, would not comment on the developments but talked to reporters about the recent trial.

The jury sided with the defense after a weeks-long trial and six days of deliberation. The gun, a Sig Sauer P239 semiautomatic pistol, was stolen from an unlocked auto of a U.S. Bureau of Land Management ranger, authorities said.

The case sparked a fierce debate over sanctuary cities, and forced San Francisco officials to defend its policy.

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