The mourning husband of slain German tourist Mechthild Schröer praised police and prosecutors Friday for bringing charges against those who allegedly killed his wife.
“My sons and I are happy and we hope that the murderer will be convicted,” Stefan Schröer told the San Francisco Examiner via email.
Nine months after groups of teenagers waged a chaotic gun battle near Union Square just before nightfall, killing Mechthild Schröer and injuring two other unintended targets, police on Wednesday arrested seven suspected gangbangers in connection with the horrific crime.
Of the seven suspects, five are being charged with murder, including Marcus Blueford, 19, Phillip Stewart, 19, Delvon Scott, 20, Willie Eason, 19, and Raheem Jackson, 17, who is being tried as an adult. Eighteen-year-old Gethsamine Pita is being charged with accessory to murder. A second juvenile is also being charged in the case.
The suspects appeared in court Thursday. Their arraignment was held over until May 16. Lt. Lea Militello of the police homicide division said the arrests were a “culmination of evidence” collected over many months. Militello said Stefan Schröer was “very emotional and very grateful” when she called to inform him about the arrests Wednesday.
“During our visit to San Francisco, we felt very happy about the warmth of the people there,” Stefan Schröer told The Examiner on Friday. “It was clear to us that many people have not forgotten the death of my wife. This was a nice gift for us.”
Schröer was surprised by news of the arrests. During a return trip to The City the week before, Schröer met with District Attorney George Gascón, who told him the homicide investigation was advanced but did not say how soon the suspects would be charged.
Gascón told Schröer that police had found new evidence and were following concrete leads, according to Peter Rothen, German consul general in San Francisco.
Parents of two teens charged with murder denied their children were involved.
The lawyer for one of the suspects alleges police violated her client’s rights to an attorney during Wednesday’s flurry of arrests.
Despite the murder of his wife, Schröer on Friday called San Francisco “a special place for us.” He said he plans to return to The City and added that he hopes steps will be taken to limit the access of firearms for teenagers.