Family of slain German tourist returns to San Francisco 

Nearly eight months after the stunning and still unsolved murder that shook The City, the family of a German tourist killed near Union Square was set to return to the place that has forever altered their lives.

Stefan Schröer of Minden, Germany, told The San Francisco Examiner he has no hard feelings toward San Francisco after his wife was shot dead on Aug. 8.

A gun battle between groups of teenagers at a nearby party erupted at Mason and Geary streets just before nightfall. Mechthild Schröer, 50, was shot amid the madness of flying bullets.

The couple had been on a three-week U.S. vacation to celebrate their wedding anniversary and Mechthild’s birthday. At the time of the shooting, they were searching for a restaurant.

No one has been held accountable for the murder. Arrests were made shortly after the killing, but the suspects were set free due to insufficient evidence.

Stefan Schröer has said he wants justice served, but added that the tragedy could happen in any city.

On Sunday, he was scheduled to return to The City with his two sons, Tobias and Jonas. He said he wanted to show his sons their mother’s favorite American city.

People have gone to great lengths to welcome back the Schröer family. Heartbroken locals have come forward with offers of hotel stays, dining and other accommodations.

Kimpton’s Hotel Monaco is providing a complimentary stay for the Schröers’ visit, which ends Thursday. Man J. Kim, owner of Union Square’s Lori’s Diner and Sears Fine Foods, offered complimentary dinner for the family.

Longtime San Franciscan Gerhard Woelke said he plans to lead the Schröers on a walking tour in The City, possibly over the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito.

“It would be ‘wunderbar’ if San Francisco could give them a real warm welcome to the city,” said Woelke, a retired Lufthansa airlines employee who volunteers with the San Francisco Opera House.

District Attorney George Gascón plans to meet with the family and answer any questions he can about the murder investigation, his spokeswoman said. After the death, Gascón expressed shock that San Franciscans weren’t more outraged about the violence.

On Wednesday, a memorial service is set to be held for Mechthild at a German-speaking church in the area. The church’s pastor said the family wishes to keep the memorial private. The German Consul, which helped put together the memorial, is expected to attend.

Given the months that have passed since Mechthild’s death, the memorial will be “a celebration of life rather than a focus on loss and grief,” the pastor said.


Timeline of a murder investigation

No one has yet been held accountable in the slaying of Mechthild Schröer.

  • Aug. 8, 2010: Mechthild Schröer, 50, is fatally shot at about 9 p.m. at Mason and Geary streets.
  • Aug. 10, 2010: Prosecutors dismiss case against 18-year-old man arrested following shooting, citing insufficient evidence.
  • Aug. 12, 2010: Police serve search warrant on Fremont home but make no arrests.
  • Aug. 25, 2010: Then-police Chief George Gascón tells Police Commission suspects in shooting have been identified, hopes for arrests soon.
  • April 24, 2011: Schröer family returns to San Francisco. The murder investigation is still ongoing.
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