5:38 PM:Seven people were arrested this morning and authorities are seeking an eighth in connection with the fatal shooting of a German tourist in San Francisco’s theater district last August, police and prosecutors said.
Mechtild Schroer, 50, of Minden, Germany, was shot around 9 p.m. on Aug. 8, 2010, in the 400 block of Mason Street near Union Square.
Police said Schroer, who was visiting the U.S. with her husband Stefan, was apparently caught in the crossfire of a shootout between two groups of people outside a private party on that block. The couple had been staying at a nearby hotel.
Two teens, a 15-year-old boy and 19-year-old woman, were also hit by the gunfire but survived. None of the three victims were the intended targets, police said.
Police Chief Greg Suhr and District Attorney George Gascon announced this afternoon that seven people–five men and two juvenile boys — were arrested this morning and have been charged in connection with Schroer’s death.
Five of the arrests were made in San Francisco; the other two suspects were arrested in Oakland and Fremont.
The names of the adult suspects are Phillip Stewart, 19, Marcos Blueford, 19, Delvon Scott, 20, Willie Eason, 19, and Gethsamine Pita, 18. Stewart, Blueford, Scott and Eason have all been charged with murder, while Pita and the two juveniles were charged with being an accessory to murder.
Some of the seven suspects had been detained by police the night of the shooting after a taxi driver saw them fleeing the scene, but prosecutors declined to file charges against them at that time, saying there was not enough evidence to prove the case.
“Many, many months … were put in to make this case,” Suhr said today.
Police Lt. Lea Militello from the department’s homicide unit said the arrests were the result of “the culmination of evidence … a lot of pieces of the puzzle came together.”
Militello said all seven suspects are gang members, but are not all part of the same gang.
She said she talked to Stefan Schroer following the arrests this morning.
“He was extremely emotional and very, very grateful,” she said.
Gascon, who was police chief back in August, had expressed frustration in the weeks after the shooting about the seeming lack of outcry from the public about Schroer’s death.
“The lack of reaction … I found it extremely disturbing,” he said today. “I felt that our community was becoming so tolerant of violence that even cases of extreme violence weren’t making people angry.”
The arrests were made by the Police Department’s homicide unit and gang task force, with the collaboration of the Police Departments of the neighboring cities.
Militello said police were not releasing details about the eighth suspect who remains outstanding, except that investigators know who he is and are seeking him.
All seven suspects are scheduled to be arraigned on Thursday morning.
2:59 PM: San Francisco police announced this afternoon that arrests have been made in the fatal shooting of a German tourist in the city’s theater district last August.
Mechtild Schroeer, 50, of Minden, Germany, was shot at about 9 p.m. on Aug. 8, 2010, in the 400 block of Mason Street, near Union Square.
Police said Schroeer was apparently caught in the crossfire of a shootout between two groups of people outside a private party on that block.
She and her husband Stefan had been visiting the U.S. and were staying at a nearby hotel.
Two teens, a 15-year-old boy and a 19-year-old woman, both from San Francisco, were also hit by the gunfire but survived. Police said the three victims were not the intended targets.
Officers detained five people who a taxicab driver saw fleeing the scene of the shooting, but released four of them pending further investigation.
The fifth, an 18-year-old man, was arrested on suspicion of murder, but prosecutors declined to file charges against him, saying there was not enough evidence to prove the case.
Police sent out a notice this afternoon saying arrests have been made in the case, but a police spokesperson was not immediately available to say whether they were the same people detained after the shooting.
The Police Department has planned a 4:15 p.m. news conference at the San Francisco Hall of Justice to announce more details about the arrests.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News