PHOTO: Facebook/SFPD
Now playing
01:42
Jury finds Zarate not guilty of Steinle murder
STEINLE FAMILY FILES CLAIMS TO HOLD  SAN FRANCISCO SHERIFF ROSS MIRKARIMI, IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT (ICE) AND THE BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT RESPONSIBLE FOR DAUGHTER
PHOTO: CNN
STEINLE FAMILY FILES CLAIMS TO HOLD SAN FRANCISCO SHERIFF ROSS MIRKARIMI, IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT (ICE) AND THE BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT RESPONSIBLE FOR DAUGHTER'S DEATH For Immediate Release: PRESS CONFERENCE WHEN: 11 AM, Tuesday, September 1, 2015 WHO: Attornies Frank Pitre, Brian Schnarr & Alison Cordova of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy Jim Steinle and Liz Sullivan (parents of Kate Steinle) and brother Brad Steinle WHERE: Polk Street steps of San Francisco City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place,
Now playing
02:13
Trump: Steinle verdict a 'travesty of justice'
kate steinle murder trial zarate lawyer comments sot_00002130.jpg
kate steinle murder trial zarate lawyer comments sot_00002130.jpg
Now playing
01:14
Defense lawyer: Verdict should be respected
PHOTO: Facebook/SFPD
Now playing
02:01
This case sparked a sanctuary city debate
undocumented immigrant pleads not guilty san francisco murder sidner dnt erin _00000123.jpg
undocumented immigrant pleads not guilty san francisco murder sidner dnt erin _00000123.jpg
Now playing
02:45
San Francisco shooting suspect pleads not guilty
Kate Steinle SF shooting victim
PHOTO: Facebook/Liz Sullivan
Kate Steinle SF shooting victim
Now playing
02:00
Officials sued in San Francisco shooting death
PHOTO: Facebook/Liz Sullivan
Now playing
02:40
Steinle family: Kate's law is part of her legacy
donald trump anderson cooper interview highlights bts ac_00003817.jpg
donald trump anderson cooper interview highlights bts ac_00003817.jpg
Now playing
02:16
Trump waited to call Steinle family so they could grieve
(CNN) —  

A California appeals court has overturned a gun conviction for an undocumented immigrant acquitted in the 2015 shooting death of Kate Steinle in San Francisco.

The court reversed a 2017 verdict that found Jose Inez Garcia Zarate guilty of being a felon in possession of a firearm, saying the court erred in not instructing jurors of an option to acquit him.

Garcia Zarate was acquitted in November 2017 of murder and involuntary manslaughter charges as well as assault with a deadly weapon in Steinle’s death. Days later, he was indicted on federal gun charges.

Steinle’s shooting death in July of 2015 sparked national debate over sanctuary cities and became a rallying cry for then-candidate Donald Trump on the campaign trail.

At trial, Garcia Zarate said he had picked up an object wrapped in rags and didn’t know a gun was inside. When it went off, he dropped the gun in the water off the pier where he had been sitting, according to a court document.

The appeals court found that trial evidence “permits at least two reasonable inferences.” One, that Garcia Zarate knew he was holding a gun and didn’t possess it “solely with an intent to dispose of it.”

The second inference is that he didn’t know he was holding a gun until it went off, and he threw it to prevent it from firing again, the court said.

“Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the defense, as we must, we conclude the trial court erred in failing to give the momentary possession instruction” to the jury, the court found.

The San Francisco District Attorney’s office said in a statement it is “weighing our options” to respond to the appeals court’s finding.

Steinle, who was 32 when she died, had been walking on a San Francisco pier with her father when she was shot and killed.

The Steinle family will not be making a statement on the overturned conviction, a family spokesperson told CNN.