Hans Schmidt, 26, is in critical condition after a suspect pulled out a gun and shot him in the head around 6 p.m. on the corner of 51st and Peoria Avenue. Police said that a suspect has not yet been identified and the shooting is under investigation.
Authorities are trying to determine if the suspect had opened fire during a drive-by or had approached Schmidt directly on the street.
Schmidt, who is a US military combat medic, husband, and father to two small children, was preaching the gospel to strangers on the street corner when he was shot, an activity that he had done frequently, according to Fox 19.
Paul Sanchez, a gentleman who works near the area where Schmidt had been shot, said that people had been driving by cursing at him.
"There was a lot of everything, really — hateful comments, people yelling at him, 'get off the street,' all sorts of mean things," he told the outlet. Sanchez said he never witnessed Schmidt confront or respond to any of the volatile comments.
Schmidt is the outreach director at the Victory Chapel and helps lead weekly church services. Members of the congregation, friends, and family said that they are in shock over what had happened to Schmidt and are trying to understand why someone would do something so heinous.
"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," said Henry Branch, according to the outlet.
The church asked members of the community to "pray for a miracle" and has been releasing updates on its website regarding Schmidt's condition.
"Hans was taken to the ER where they discovered he had been shot after conducting a CT scan. He began seizing and was intubated," the church said. "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."
Larry Dettman, who was attending church service when the pastor announced what had happened, said: "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."
The Glendale Police Department is asking anyone with information on the case to contact police at 623-930-3000, or Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS (948-6377) or 480-TESTIGO (837-8446).
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