GLENDALE, Ariz. – A beloved church leader was shot in the head Wednesday night while spreading the gospel on a street corner in Arizona, according to reports
Hans Schmidt is the outreach director at Victory Chapel First Phoenix, a church in Glendale, Arizona. It is described as a “local church with a world vision” on its website.
Schmidt, who is married and has a young child, was standing at the northwest corner of 51st and Peoria avenues with his megaphone, quoting scripture and preaching to anyone who would listen prior to an evening service, something he’s routinely done in the past. While delivering a message, someone gunned him down about 6 p.m., reported AZFamily.
Though police were initially dispatched to the hospital regarding an assault, they quickly learned that Schmidt suffered a critical gunshot wound to the head, KNXV-TV reported.
It’s unclear whether the gunman opened fire from a passing vehicle, or fled on foot following the attempted murder, according to Blaze media.
On Thursday, Victory Chapel released a statement that said, “Hans was taken to the ER where they discovered he had been shot after conducting a CT scan. He began seizing and was intubated. There has been some movement; however, physicians are uncertain how much is voluntary and began draining fluid from his brain. He remains in critical condition, please continue praying.”
The victim’s wife, Zulya Schmidt, wrote in a Facebook post, “My husband was shot in the head yesterday while street preaching on the corner of 51st Ave and Peoria If anyone has any info please contact 911. Thank you for your prayers. Believing God has the final say.”
She concluded her message, “I love you so much babe.”
Larry Dettman was at the church Wednesday evening when the pastor announced what happened. Within minutes, the pastor left for the hospital to check on Schmidt.
“Out of nowhere, how does this happen? There’s some real evil in this world, bunch of human junk in their life and they take it out on somebody else,” Dettman said.
Henry Branch, a local man who lives near the church said, “Who knows why someone would want to take it out on a preacher like that because he’s speaking the gospel and good news to everybody. He’s out to help the community.”
Glendale police have not made any arrests and believe there are more witnesses to the shooting. They are asking anyone with information to come forward or call Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS. Spanish speakers can call 480-TESTIGO.