In July of 2015, Jose Ines Garcia Zarate found a gun that had been stolen from a ranger under a bench at a beach in San Francisco, California. According to the official story, and the defense testimony, the gun was wrapped in a shirt on the ground. Zarate picked it up, and before he knew what it was, the gun fired.
By now you know that the bullet struck college student Kate Steinle in the back, punctured her aorta, and she died in her father’s arms two hours later at a local hospital. Two years and four months later, Zarate was found not guilty of murder.
Now, we all know that the legal system is not perfect. Courts are run by human beings who are prone to error, and sometimes make mistakes. But the result of this case does not make sense.
The facts of the case are fairly simple.
- First, Jose Zarate was an illegal immigrant, a multiple felon, and had been deported five times.
- 32-year-old Steinle was strolling along Pier 14 of the Embarcadero with her family. The bullet ricocheted off of the deck of the pier before striking Steinle.
- Zarate abandoned the gun and fled south to be captured one mile away at Pier 40.
- The gun was a .40 caliber SIG Sauer P239 with a seven cartridge magazine. It had been stolen from the vehicle of a ranger who worked for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in June of 2015. According to the shooter, he was attempting to shoot a sea lion.
- According to the ranger, the gun had been holstered under the seat of his locked vehicle while he was at a restaurant with his family.
The problems with this case begin with the alleged theft of the gun. Why was there no investigation into the identity of the person or persons who stole the gun, and into how the gun came to be where Zarate says he found it? Why has the inconsistency of Zarate’s testimony not been taken into account? He said that the gun “just went off,” and that he was trying to shoot a sea lion. Those would seem to be inconsistent claims. First of all, guns do not simply go off. They have to be fully cocked, loaded and chambered. That means the gun would have had to be ready to fire while it was still in the shirt.
In story one, the gun is wrapped in the shirt- fully primed to shoot- and goes off before Zarate even knows what is in the shirt. In story two, Zarate knows he has the gun and attempts to kill a sea lion. These claims do not even come close to being consistent.
These are not the claims of an honest man. They are a collection of desperate lies told by an incompetent criminal who should be in a state prison.
Furthermore, if he was trying to shoot a sea lion, how would Kate Steinle manage to come between Zarate and the alleged animal? The bullet did not ricochet off of a metal pole or a wall- it bounced off of the concrete floor of the pier. That means the line of fire would not deviate significantly to the left or right.
In the end, Zarate was charged with illegal possession of a firearm and was acquitted of murder. But, if he did not know there was a gun in the shirt, how could he be considered to be in possession of the gun? And if the other story is true, how is he not at least charged with involuntary manslaughter for the negligent shooting which resulted in a young woman’s death?
There are two logical conclusions that a person could draw from this horrible incident. One is that American citizens do not have equal protection under the law when they are in a sanctuary city, that politics became a factor in this case and that the ability of people to come to this country illegally is being protected by powerful people with a political agenda. The other logical conclusion that one could draw from it is that the system of justice is broken, that the people involved in it are incompetent, lazy- or both.
As a father, and a patriot, I can tell you that one thing about this case is certain. That is the fact that right now there is a grieving father whose life is shattered and who has had his confidence in the idea of equal protection under the law destroyed forever.
~ American Gun News