(CNN) — The Justice Department is considering bringing federal charges against Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, the man found not guilty in Kate Steinle’s murder Thursday night, DOJ spokesperson Sarah Flores told CNN.
Following last night’s not guilty verdict by a California jury in San Francisco resident Steinle’s murder, 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.
Garcia Zarate, an undocumented immigrant, was acquitted of murder and involuntary manslaughter charges, as well as assault with a deadly weapon by a jury, although the Mexican citizen was convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm, which could bring a three-year sentence.
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 had been deported from the United States five times prior to Steinle’s death.
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.”
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