Visit ignites burst of support for family of slain tourist

The family of a German tourist who was killed near Union Square will be welcomed with open arms by The City’s businesses in spring when they return to the street where the mother and wife was gunned down in a senseless shootout among teenagers.

Last month, Stefan Schröer of Minden, Germany, told The San Francisco Examiner that he wanted to bring his two sons to The City to visit the place where their mother died. Following that report, heartbroken locals came forward with offers of hotel, dining and other accommodations. On Friday, Schröer told The San Francisco Examiner that he would be arriving in April rather than summer, as originally planned.

His wife, Mechthild — an elementary school principal — was killed by errant gunfire at Mason and Geary streets Aug. 8.

The couple had been on a three-week U.S. vacation to celebrate their wedding anniversary and Mechthild’s birthday. They had returned from a stroll and were searching for a restaurant when a gun battle erupted between two groups of
teenagers outside a private party for high school students.

Despite no arrest in a killing witnessed by dozens of people, Schröer said he has no hard feelings against The City and wants to visit again to show his sons, Tobias and Jonas,
“everything.” The sons were in Germany at the time of the killing.

After reading about their planned return to The City, management at The Kimpton Group offered the family free accommodations at one of its nine city hotels.

“This could be a wonderful opportunity for [San Francisco] to show how we can turn around and redeem ourselves,” said Greg Pinetti, a manager of Kimpton’s Hotel Monaco at 501 Geary St., which is two blocks from where the shooting occurred.

Man J. Kim, owner of Union Square’s Lori’s Diner and Sears Fine Foods, has offered complimentary dinner for the Schröer family’s return. Also, several readers have written to The San Francisco Examiner offering to guide the family around town.

“I think it’s pretty brave of [Stefan] to come back to The City,” said Steve Pompermayer, 51, a longtime San Franciscan.

Pompermayer, who is employed by a dot-com company, said he has been working to set up a local memorial fund to benefit the school where Mechthild Schröer, a passionate educator,
 worked.

Pompermayer said he was upset with the slow pace of the case, and said he worried officials want to “brush it under the carpet.”

“Tourism is the lifeblood of The City,” he said. “If this took place in Times Square instead of Union Square, there would have been an arrest by now.”

The City has seen a rash of violence in its tourist areas since summer, including a fatal shooting during a packed Pink Saturday street party and a brutal assault and robbery on a couple at
Coit Tower.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

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