A German tourist returning to her Union Square hotel following a stroll through The City with her husband was shot dead after being caught in the crossfire of a dispute between several suspects that had left a party nearby, authorities said.
Mechthild Schröer, 50, of Minden, Germany, was killed after a barrage of bullets was unleashed just after 9 p.m. Monday at 400 Mason St., a strip swarming with tourists, police said.
The bullets also struck a 15-year-old boy and 19-year-old woman, who were treated at San Francisco General Hospital and released, police said. Those victims were locals, police Sgt. Troy Dangerfield said.
Five suspects have been detained for questioning, Dangerfield said. The suspects were believed to have been involved in a dispute at a party in a rented-out hall located near the shooting scene, he said. The party was not held at Ruby Skye, which was closed Sunday, he added.
Schröer’s husband, who was at his wife’s side as she was dying, was not injured. Schröer, a rector at a school in Germany, later died at the hospital, authorities said.
A grim scene remained Monday morning following the shooting. Blood spatters remained on a sidewalk of the area, still flooded with tourists, and bullet holes could be seen on a garbage can, a utility box, and on the awning and wall of the Pinecrest Diner, a 24-hour establishment.
Monday, Mayor Gavin Newsom sent his condolences to the families of victims. Last year, around 15.4 million visitors visited San Francisco — including around 200,000 from Germany — and spent $7.8 billion, generating $426 million in tax revenue for The City, according to the San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau.
An official with the German consulate located in San Francisco said the shooting should not worry future visitors from visiting The City.
“These are things that can happen anywhere in the world, this time it happened in Union Square,” said Eberhard Brockmann, regional deputy consul general. “It’s not like a flurry of incidents there. We all know it’s a safe city, it has good police. But it can happen. There’s always this type of risk.”