The Justice Department is considering bringing federal charges against Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, the man found not guilty in Kate Steinle’s killing Thursday night, DOJ spokeswoman Sarah Flores told CNN.
Following the verdict by a California jury in San Francisco resident Steinle’s death, the DOJ is weighing whether it will take a separate action in bringing charges against Garcia Zarate. All available federal options are on the table, CNN is told.
The jury acquitted Garcia Zarate, an undocumented immigrant, of murder and involuntary manslaughter charges, as well as assault with a deadly weapon. The jury, however, convicted the Mexican citizen of being a felon in possession of a firearm, which could bring a three-year sentence.
Friday, a July 2015 federal arrest warrant for Zarate was unsealed along with a new amendment. The amendment, filed Friday in the Western District of Texas, added Zarate’s conviction on the firearm possession charge and other violations of his supervised release stemming from the Steinle case.
Prosecutors had argued Garcia Zarate intentionally shot Steinle, 32, with a Sig Sauer .40-caliber handgun as she and her father walked on San Francisco’s Pier 14. But Garcia Zarate’s defense attorney said the shooting was accidental and the bullet ricocheted off the ground and traveled about 80 feet before hitting Steinle.
Federal immigration officials said they will try to deport Garcia Zarate. He was deported from the United States five times prior to Steinle’s death.
The Department of Justice said a federal detainer requires Garcia Zarate to be remanded into the custody of US Marshals Service to be transported to Texas.
President Donald Trump reacted to the news early Friday morning, tweeting: “A disgraceful verdict in the Kate Steinle case! No wonder the people of our Country are so angry with Illegal Immigration.”