Suspect released in San Francisco tourist shooting

San Francisco police have announced they would not charge the 18-year-old suspect they had arrested for the shooting death of a German tourist over the weekend, saying they lacked evidence.

Suspect released in San Francisco tourist shooting
Photo: DPA

Phillip Stewart was released along with four other men who had been arrested after they were spotted by a taxi driver leaving the scene, the San Francisco Chronicle reported on Wednesday.

Mechthild Schröer, 50, of Minden, North Rhine-Westphalia was walking with her husband near the city’s popular Union Square plaza around 9 pm on Sunday when she was caught in the crossfire between two groups and shot in the head, the paper said.

Two teenagers, a 15-year-old boy and a 19-year-old woman, both from San Francisco, also sustained minor injuries in the shooting, according to local broadcaster KTVU on Tuesday.

Schröer and her husband had come to the city to celebrate their 25th anniversary and her 50th birthday.

The altercation was apparently between two groups of young people outside a private end-of-summer party. Nearby security cameras captured some of the shooting, which police are still reviewing as they await results for ballistics tests, district attorney’s office spokesman Seth Steward said in a statement.

“Currently, there is no positive identification of who caused the tragic death of Mechthild Schröer,” Steward said, adding that there was still a possibility the 18-year-old suspect Stewart might be charged.

Meanwhile police chief Jeff Godown told the paper that the case was “complicated.”

“It was a large crime scene, a lot of people out there. It’s going to take some time,” he said.

The paper added that the cab driver who followed the group leaving the crime scene and reported their whereabouts to police was hailed as a hero by Mayor Gavin Newsom.

The victim’s husband Stefan Schröer returned to Germany on Monday.

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German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.