Trial focused on shooting despite spotlight on immigration

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Though the 2015 shooting death of Kate Steinle became a flashpoint in an intense national debate over immigration, the issue was never addressed inside the courtroom where a jury acquitted a Mexican national in the killing.

From the outset, the judge barred any mention of Jose Ines Garcia Zarate’s immigration status or the five times he was arrested and deported to Mexico before the shooting.

San Francisco prosecutors argued the shooting was murder. The jury sided with the defense, which argued that the shooting was an accident. Jurors found him guilty only of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

President Donald Trump called the verdict “disgraceful.” Trump and federal officials blame Steinle’s death on San Francisco’s “sanctuary city” immigration policy.