A jury on Thursday found Jose Ines Garcia Zarate not guilty in the death of Kate Steinle, a case that sparked a nationwide debate on immigration.
President Donald Trump, who often brought up the death of Kate Steinle during his campaign, tweeted Thursday night that the acquittal of the undocumented immigrant who shot her was a "disgraceful verdict".
Steinle died in July 2015. He has repeatedly warned about violent Latino gangs flourishing in sanctuary cities, and used the crime as part of his efforts to justify a crackdown on undocumented immigrants and win support for a wall he wants built along the US boarder with Mexico.
Trump signed an executive order to withhold funding from sanctuary cities, but a federal judge recently blocked it in a lawsuit from two California counties, San Francisco and Santa Clara.
USA immigration officials said they will deport Garcia Zarate, who had been deported five times and was wanted for a sixth deportation when Steinle was fatally shot in the back while walking with her father.
Sanctuary supporters say enlisting police in deportation actions undermines community trust in local law enforcement, particularly among Latinos.
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The jury found him not guilty of the assault charge but convicted him of the possession charge.
During the presidential race, then-candidate Donald Trump cited the killing as a reason to toughen USA immigration policies.
Gonzalez said in his closing argument that he knows it's hard to believe Garcia Zarate found an object that turned out to be a weapon, which fired when he picked it up.
Several months after Steinle's death, Trump claimed that she had been shot five times.
"I'm relieved", Public Defender Jeff Adachi said after the verdict reading, adding that evidence in the case played a big role in the not-guilty verdict.
But he told jurors that Garcia Zarate had no motivation to kill Steinle and that as terrible as her death was, "nothing you do is going to fix that". "This tragedy could have been prevented if San Francisco had simply turned the alien over to ICE, as we requested, instead of releasing him back onto the streets".
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NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant will participate in a session on "The City that Never Sleeps: Cities of Tomorrow". Ms Trump, a businesswoman herself, will be discussing issues of innovations, skill and training the next day.
After the verdict, Jim Steinle told the Chronicle he was "saddened and shocked".
A spokeswoman for San Francisco Superior Court could not immediately be reached for comment on the verdict. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Deputy Director Thomas Homan said his agency will now seek take custody of Zarate and deport him.
The bullet ricocheted on the pier's concrete walkway and fatally struck Steinle in the back.
Garcia Zarate's lawyer, Matt Gonzalez, had argued that the defendant wasn't criminally responsible because he found the.40-caliber Sig Sauer and wasn't aware it was a gun when it accidentally went off.
Steinle's death became a rallying cry for Trump and others, who have invoked the case in decrying sanctuary cities and promoting the construction of the border wall.
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