SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — A law enforcement task force led by the U.S. Marshals Northern District of California has arrested a suspect in the 2010 murder of a German tourist. A tipster saw the mugshot of 21-year-old Devante Laws, on a new “most wanted” website and called in to law enforcement, leading to yesterday’s arrest. “Investigators received a tip, set up surveillance, and noticed somebody that looked just like Mr. Laws,” said Frank Conroy, Supervisory Deputy of the U.S. Marshals Service, Northern California Division.
“They began to follow that individual, approached him at a gas station and placed him into custody.” Laws is in the San Francisco County jail, charged with accessory to murder, and other weapons charges. Seven men are already in custody with various charges associated with the homicide of Mechthild Schroer, 50, who was in San Francisco with her family to celebrate her anniversary. She was fatally shot in the crossfire between two groups outside a Union Square nightclub in August of 2010. Laws was named in a 2011 grand jury indictment, but had eluded law enforcement until Thursday’s arrest. “Much credit to the marshal’s task force and our efforts working together in order to bring a fugitive to justice,” said Peter Lee, F.B.I. spokesman.
The F.B.I. is a participant in the U.S. Marshal-led task force and took part in the arrest of Laws. The website was unveiled last month by the U.S. Marshals Service Northern District of California, FBI and Northern California Regional Intelligence Center. Laws was one of two San Francisco suspects featured on the site. Conroy said the new web site has had about 11,000 hits in less than a month. Five fugitives are marked as captured, but most of those resulted from investigations already in the works. Laws is the first arrest that came from a tip directly from the new website. The U.S. Marshals are hoping they’ll get many more. Conroy said the arrest of Laws is one of about 750 arrests in the Bay Area in the last year. In Oakland in the past two years, he said the task force has made almost 70 arrests of homicide suspects. “The public obviously outnumbers law enforcement in the bay area,” said Conroy. “They want to see people brought to justice and this is a way to do that.”
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