Witness gives testimony on day 2 of Kate Steinle trial

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Day two is underway in the trial of an undocumented immigrant who sparked a national debate after he fired a weapon and killed a woman in San Francisco. (Vicki Behringer)

Day two is underway in the trial of an undocumented immigrant who sparked a national debate after he fired a weapon and killed a woman in San Francisco.

TIMELINE: How the Kate Steinle case unfolded
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The trial begins in the case that ignited a national debate on sanctuary cities and illegal immigration.


Following yesterday's emotional testimony by victim Kate Steinle's father, the prosecution called on a witness who was at the pier at the time of the shooting. Michelle Lo was visiting San Francisco with her children on July 1, 2015. With the help of an interpreter, Lo said she was taking pictures of San Francisco Bay and couldn't help but notice a man dressed in black acting strangely. The man, she says was going around and around in a swiveling chair laughing to himself. She assumed he was homeless. Lo identified the man as Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, the man being tried for shooting Steinle.

She says he her feel uncomfortable in a way she can't describe, just a moment later she heard a bang and then a scream, a very sharp scream. Jose Garcia Zarate's defense attorney says his client has some mental issues, but that is not the defense he's using. She then testified that she saw Steinle in the ground. Because she had taken several photos, she later discovered that some of them included Garcia Zarate and Steinle minutes before the shooting.

She shared those photos with police, which were instrumental in finding and identifying Garcia Zarate about an hour later.

A court sketch shows the Kate Steinle murder trial inside a San Francisco, Calif. courtroom on Tuesday, October 24, 2017.



During the trial it has been determined that the bullet ricocheted off the pavement striking Steinle in the back. Prosecutors say Garcia Zarate intentionally shot Steinle. His defense team argues he found the gun on the pier where he was seated and it accidentally went off after picking up the .40 caliber handgun.

The gun had been stolen from the car of a federal park ranger who was also visiting San Francisco four days before the shooting.

The shooting has been highly politicized because Garcia Zarate, an undocumented immigrant had been deported several times before. It has since caused a political debate over San Francisco's status as a sanctuary city.

The jury must decide whether Garcia Zarate intentionally or accidentally shot Steinle.

Click here for more stories on the Kate Steinle murder case.

Related Topics:
pier 14 shootingdeadly shootingimmigrationICEsan francisco countymurdertrialcourt casecrimeSan Francisco
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