There was no way under these completely innocent circumstances, not far from her home, with her Dad and a friend alongside her, that this beautiful young woman would have given even a passing thought that this was the final moment of her life.
Jose Inez Garcia Zarate was a 45-year old (possibly older) illegal from Mexico who had already been deported from the United States on five separate occasions. Seven felony convictions on his record, he was on probation still in Texas.
That night, Zarate, who also has gone by Juan Francisco López-Sánchez or Francisco Sánchez, was back in the United States illegally. He was purported to have been simply wandering the same area of Pier 14 where Steinle and her companions were enjoying their stroll.
John Woychowski was an agent for the California Bureau of Land Management. That same day, he and his family were driving to Montana when they decided to stop off for dinner in San Francisco.
Woychowski, per a Fox News report:
...parked his car in what he thought was a safe location and left a black backpack, which had his loaded weapon inside, in the back seat. He said the car was locked and had an alarm and tinted windows. When his family returned from dinner, he said his car's windows were smashed and the backpack was gone. He said he immediately reported the theft to 9-1-1 and his employer.The gun was the .40-caliber Sig Sauer P239, a popular handgun. A review from James Grant back in 2012 said that the gun "not only looks the part of secret service heater, but plays it just as well."
That night, that gun would be used to end the life of Kate Steinle. It was fired by Zarate, who claimed to have simply found it wrapped in cloth underneath a bench, and that the shooting was accidental.
As Steinle innocently walked along, Zarate fired the weapon three times. One of the bullets ricocheted off the pier's concrete decking and struck Steinle in the back. She went down immediately, with her father dropping in a panic next to her.
"Help me, Dad." In her father's arms, those were the final words in the life of Kate Steinle.
Just three months earlier, Zarate had been released from jail by San Francisco authorities. This was despite a request from federal immigration authorities that he be detained in order that he might again be deported.
You see, San Francisco is another in a series of large American sanctuary cities where local law enforcement has been barred from cooperating with the feds in such cases.
Zarate was quickly arrested and charged with first-degree murder, as well as with narcotics violations. Through his attorney, high-profile San Francisco political activist Matt Gonzalez, he entered a 'Not Guilty' plea.
The Sheriff who ordered Zarate's release was Ross Mirkarimi, co-founder of California's ultra-liberal Green Party. He was soundly defeated in a November 2015 re-election bid. The case was also highlighted during Donald Trump's 2016 U.S. Presidential campaign.
A number of pieces of legislation aimed at attacking the myriad problems involving illegal immigration were specifically introduced following this heinous crime. Texas U.S. Senator Ted Cruz and Arizona U.S. Congressman Matt Salmon introduced "Kate's Law", first proposed by broadcaster Bill O'Reilly, as one such measure.
Each of these measures has been met with opposition, almost exclusively along party lines. Democrats consistently have fought any legislation aimed at further restricting or controlling the illegal immigration problem.
After a dozen days of testimony, and after hearing dozens of witnesses, the San Francisco jury was instructed that they could consider first-degree murder as well as second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter.
Yesterday, after six days of deliberations, that jury made up of residents from this notoriously ultra-liberal northern California city returned its verdict: Not guilty.
Tom Homan, the Deputy Director for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), quickly issued this statement:
"San Francisco’s policy of refusing to honor ICE detainers is a blatant threat to public safety and undermines the rule of law. 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. It is unconscionable that politicians across this country continue to endanger the lives of Americans with sanctuary policies while ignoring the harm inflicted on their constituents. Following the conclusion of this case, ICE will work to take custody of Mr. Garcia Zarate and ultimately remove him from the country."
California, where a jury released O.J. Simpson just over 22 years ago, has once again shown itself to be a place friendly to those accused under perceived social injustice. Never mind the actual justice for the truly innocent murder victims.
There was no justice in California yesterday for Kate Steinle and her still grieving family. “We’re just shocked — saddened and shocked ... that’s about it,” said Kate's father Jim per the San Francisco Chronicle. “There’s no other way you can coin it. Justice was rendered, but it was not served.”
No, justice was not served Mr. Steinle. It isn't the first time here on the Left coast, and it won't be the last. California has been sliding farther and farther away from mainstream American values for decades. Yesterday in San Francisco, that was proven once again.