A federal judge in Texas has unsealed an arrest warrant for the Mexican man found not guilty of killing a woman on a San Francisco pier.
U.S. District Judge Alia Moses unsealed the warrant for Jose Ines Garcia Zarate on Friday. It was issued in July 2015 after Garcia Zarate was arrested in the slaying of Kate Steinle days earlier.
Garcia Zarate had been convicted in federal court of illegally re-entering the U.S. and was on supervised release at the time of Steinle’s slaying. Federal officials allege the Steinle shooting violated the terms of his supervision.
The Justice Department has said it will look at possible illegal re-entry and/or violation of supervised release charges against Garcia Zarate after jurors in San Francisco acquitted him of murder in Steinle’s shooting.
Garcia Zarate, who is in custody at San Francisco County Jail and will be back in court on Dec. 14, said the shooting was an accident.
San Francisco Deputy District Attorney Diana Garcia argued the shooting was murder. The jury sided with the defense, which argued that the shooting was an accident, and found him guilty only of being a felon in possession of a firearm. That charge carries a maximum of three years in jail.
Steinle was shot while walking with her father and a family friend on a San Francisco pier popular with tourists. Garcia Zarate said he was sitting on the pier when he found a gun under a chair. He said the gun was wrapped in a T-shirt and accidentally fired when he picked it up.
Before the shooting, Garcia Zarate had finished a federal prison sentence for illegal re-entry into the United States and had been transferred to San Francisco’s jail in March 2015 to face a 20-year-old charge for selling marijuana.
The sheriff’s department released him a few days after prosecutors dropped the marijuana charge, despite a request from federal immigration officials to detain him for deportation.
“San Francisco’s decision to protect criminal aliens led to the preventable and heartbreaking death of Kate Steinle,” U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement Thursday night. “I urge the leaders of the nation’s communities to reflect on the outcome of this case and consider carefully the harm they are doing to their citizens by refusing to cooperate with federal law enforcement officers.”
In a pre-dawn tweet Friday, the president blamed Democrats, saying: “The Schumer/Pelosi Democrats are so weak on Crime that they will pay a price in the 2018 and 2020 Elections.” He was referring to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
“BUILD THE WALL,” Trump tweeted.
Though the 2015 deadly shooting became a flashpoint in an intense national debate over immigration, the issue was never addressed inside the courtroom.