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A 26-year-old Christian man is in critical condition after being shot in the head while preaching to passersby on a street corner in Glendale, Arizona.
Hans Schmidt was standing at the corner of a major intersection on Wednesday, telling people about a church service being held that evening, Fox 10 reported. At around 6:00 p.m., a person shot the street preacher before fleeing the scene. Schmidt, a military veteran and father of two young children — including a two-month-old baby — was rushed to hospital where he is now fighting for his life.
“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,” Schmidt’s wife Zulya posted on Instagram. “Thank you for your prayers. Believing God has the final say. I love you so much babe.”
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Victory Chapel, where Schmidt serves as the outreach director, posted an update about his situation on Thursday, saying that after he arrived at the ER, he “began seizing and was intubated.”
“There has been some movement; however, physician’s are uncertain how much is voluntary and began draining fluid from his brain. He remains in critical condition, please continue praying,” the church said.
Schmidt’s wife posted again on Instagram Friday morning, writing, “I love you my handsome cowboy. Keep fighting papi. We need you!!”
Paul Sanchez, who works at a business close to where the shooting took place, said he saw some people drive by, screaming and cursing at Schmidt as he preached.
“There was a lot of everything, really, hateful comments, people yelling at him, ‘get off the street,’ all sorts of mean things,” he told 3TV and CBS 5 News. Sanchez added that he was shocked when the situation escalated since Schmidt never responded to anyone who yelled at him.
Henry Branch, who lives near the intersection where Schmidt was shot, said he was stunned to learn of what happened.
“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.”
The Glendale Police Department continues to wait for witnesses to come forward with more information on the shooting.
“This is a horrible, horrible event. We have a 26-year-old who is a military man, who was recently married and has two small children. He’s in a critical state,” said Gina Winn of the Glendale Police Department. “We believe there is someone in the Valley who knows what happened. If you saw an individual or vehicle, you’re asked to call the Glendale Police Department.”
Police are still looking for a suspect and asking anyone with information about the shooting to call them at 623-930-3000 or Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS. It remains unclear if Schmidt was shot by someone driving by in a car or a person who approached him on the street, 3TV and CBS 5 News reported.
This article has been updated to include comment from Glendale Police and to correct the age of Hans Schmidt.