Prosecutors: Not Enough Evidence For Charge in Tourist Homicide

Wednesday, Aug 11, 2010  |  Updated 6:19 AM PDT
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Prosecutors: Not Enough Evidence For Charge in Tourist Homicide

Christian Weber

Prosecutors Tuesday declined to charge a San Francisco teen with the  Sunday night murder of a German tourist in the city's theater district,  saying there was not enough evidence to prove the case.

      Mechtild Schroeer, 50, of Minden, Germany, was shot at about 9  p.m. in the 400 block of Mason Street, near Union Square.
     
Police said she was apparently caught in the crossfire of a  shootout between two groups of people outside a private party on that block.
     
Phillip Stewart, 18, was arrested following the shooting, but Tuesday afternoon, prosecutors said they did not have enough evidence to charge him.
     
"The case remains under active investigation," district attorney's  office spokesman Seth Steward said in a statement.
     
He said investigators are continuing to collect ballistics  evidence, gunshot residue and video evidence in the case.
     
"Currently, there is no positive identification" of Schroeer's  killer, Steward said.
     
Schroeer was walking in the area when at least two people opened  fire as a large crowd gathered outside the party, police said.
     
She and her husband Stefan had been visiting the U.S. and were  staying at a nearby hotel at the time, according to police.
     
Two teens, a 15-year-old boy and a 19-year-old woman, both from  San Francisco, were also struck by bullets and survived.
     
Police said the three shooting victims were not the intended  targets.
     
Officers detained Stewart and four others in a car that a taxicab  driver saw fleeing the scene of the shooting, police said.
     
Homicide investigators arrested Stewart on suspicion of murder  Monday.
     
The four others, two adults and two juveniles, were released  pending further investigation.
     
"We still are looking for additional suspects," police spokesman  Officer Samson Chan said this afternoon.
     
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact  police at (415) 575-4444 or by texting TIP411.

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