Mexican immigrant cleared in San Francisco pier slaying pleads not guilty to gun charges

A jury in November acquitted Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, right, of killing Kate Steinle in 2015
(Michael Macor / Associated Press)

A Mexican man who was acquitted of murder in a San Francisco shooting that ignited a national immigration debate has pleaded not guilty to federal gun charges.

Jose Ines Garcia Zarate appeared in federal court Tuesday to face two illegal gun possession charges. They were filed after a jury in November found him not guilty of killing Kate Steinle in 2015.

Garcia Zarate has been deported five times and served prison time for illegally reentering the U.S.


Under San Francisco’s “sanctuary city” policy, local authorities released him from jail several weeks before the shooting, ignoring a federal request to detain him for a sixth deportation.

Garcia Zarate says he found a gun under a seat on a popular pier and that it accidentally fired when he picked it up.

He was transferred from a city jail to U.S. custody over the weekend.