Steinle family: 'We're shocked, we're saddened and shocked'

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- After a surprising not guilty verdict in the 2015 killing of their daughter, 32-year-old Kate Steinle, her parents -- Jim Steinle and Liz Sullivan -- expressed grief, shock and sadness to the San Francisco Chronicle in an exclusive interview.

RELATED: Kate Steinle suspect found not guilty, acquitted of murder and manslaughter

Undocumented immigrant Jose Ines Garcia Zarate was acquitted of first degree murder, second degree murder and involuntary manslaughter after the shooting death of Steinle at San Francisco's Pier 14. His defense team claimed the incident was a tragic accident. He was, however; found guilty of possession of a firearm.

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Man accused in death of Kate Steinle admits to Pier 14 shooting

Jim and Liz Steinle told the San Francisco Chronicle they could hardly talk about the verdict once it came down Thursday.

"It's a horrific moment that you can't get out of your mind," her father said. "That's how all three of us suffered. It's all-encompassing, and two years later, we're still in court. I dreaded every moment when I thought about it, and I said what I had to say, and you can't put a ribbon around it or anything like that. You just relive this, day after day."

Kate's brother Brad Steinle told the Chronicle he was "flabbergasted" by the "culmination of errors" that led to the death of his sister.

"This trial, for me, is kind of the least important part of the puzzle," he told the Chronicle. "The sequence of events that led up to this - and the fact that nothing has changed - is the most disheartening thing. It's like Siegfried and Roy: You stick your head in a tiger's mouth and you're probably going to get bit at some point."

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.

The defense claimed the shooting death of the 32-year-old was a tragic accident.

Her mother said the claim that the gun went off accidentally was "just ridiculous stuff."

Despite the sadness surrounding the verdict and the death of their daughter, Steinle's father maintained they don't have hate.

"Of course we're deep in our faith, and we go to church," he said. "We believe Kate's in a better place, and we think about her on that level. But no, we have no vindictiveness."

Click here to look back at the events of the Kate Steinle murder trial.
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