Kate Steinle
Jurors have found Jose Ines Garcia Zarate not guilty of killing Kate Steinle on Pier 14 in San Francisco in July 2015 in the trial that sparked a national debate over illegal immigration, Nov. 30, 2017. In this photo, Jim Steinle (L), father of murder victim Kathryn (in photo, R), testifies about his daughter's murder during a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee on U.S. immigration enforcement policies, on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., July 21, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

One of the jurors in the murder trial of Kate Steinle spoke out Sunday and called the shooting that killed her a “freak accident.” The man charged with killing Steinle was an undocumented immigrant, which ignited a nationwide debate on sanctuary cities.

The male juror agreed to an anonymous interview with KNTV, an NBC affiliate in San Jose, California. He claimed that he was comfortable with his decision to acquit the defendant.

Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, 45, was charged with murder and involuntary manslaughter for Steinle’s death in 2015 but was acquitted of both charges on Nov. 30 this year. Zarate’s lawyer argued that Zarate found a handgun on the San Francisco pier where Steinle was killed and that the bullet that ricocheted off the ground before killing Steinle was fired by accident. Zarate was found guilty of unlawful possession of a firearm.

“If I was not a juror on this trial, I would probably think the same way,” said the male juror who said his friends were shocked by the outcome of the trial. “Why did you let him go free? But again, the reason is, they could not prove to us that he intentionally killed her. And through all the evidence, I really think that it was a freak accident.”

Zarate was an undocumented immigrant who had been deported five times and San Francisco is considered a “sanctuary city.” A sanctuary city is not a legal status but represents the attitude of a city’s officials to limit cooperation with federal immigration enforcement.

President Donald Trump who has argued for stricter immigration enforcement used the Steinle case as an example.

“[Zarate] was free to harm an innocent American because our leaders refuse to protect our border and because San Francisco is a sanctuary city,” said Trump Saturday in a weekly address.

The juror, however, felt that he and the rest of the jury got the trial right.

"With whatever they showed us, what they presented to us, yes I can put my head on a pillow and sleep well thinking that I made the right decision," said the juror.

Zarate had been convicted of several crimes, but jurors were told not to consider his record.