Trump blasts verdict after undocumented immigrant acquitted in shooting of Kate Steinle

Donald Trump repeatedly referred to the killing while on the campaign trail.

ByABC News
December 1, 2017, 8:45 AM

— -- President Donald Trump lashed out Thursday night at a not guilty ruling in a murder trial he had used to argue against illegal immigration.

Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, an undocumented immigrant, was found not guilty of first-degree murder, second-degree murder and manslaughter. He was convicted on a lesser charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Garcia Zarate admitted to picking up a gun on a San Francisco pier in 2015, and said it accidentally went off striking and killing 32-year-old Kate Steinle, according to The Associated Press. The prosecution argued he carelessly handled the weapon, which the Bureau of Land Management said previously was stolen from an agent's vehicle.

Trump repeatedly referred to the shooting on the campaign trail in 2015 and 2016 as an argument for building a border wall between the United States and Mexico and becoming tougher on illegal immigration. Garcia Zarate had been deported to his native Mexico previously multiple times and had just gotten out of jail after a drug charge was dismissed.

San Francisco is a so-called sanctuary city and does not notify Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) when an undocumented immigrant is detained.

The president took to Twitter shortly after the Thursday verdict to condemn the ruling.

He followed that up eight hours later with two more tweets calling the jury decision a "complete travesty of justice" and blaming policy of his predecessor Barack Obama, as well as Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi.

Trump's condemnation of the shooting goes back to the beginning of his campaign.

“This man, or this animal, that shot that wonderful, that beautiful woman in San Francisco, this guy was pushed back by Mexico,” Trump told CNN's Anderson Cooper in an interview in July 2015, just a month after bringing up Mexican undocumented immigrants in his candidacy announcement. “Mexico pushes back people across the border that are criminals, that are drug dealers.”

Criticism came from both sides of the aisle, however. Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., whose district includes parts of the Bay Area, also condemned the ruling.

Steinle's family told The San Francisco Chronicle that they were "saddened and shocked" by the verdict.

"There’s no other way you can coin it," said Steinle's father, James Steinle. "Justice was rendered, but it was not served."

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