A religious leader in Arizona is in critical condition after being shot in the head while delivering a sermon on a street corner in Glendale. Hans Schmidt, 26, a Christian father of two and the outreach director at Victory Chapel in Glendale was shot around 6 pm on Wednesday in the area of 51st Avenue and Peoria, authorities said.
The incident took place as Schmidt, who had recently relocated to Arizona, was preaching the gospel on the street and promoting an upcoming church service. He is currently in critical condition and receiving medical care. Police have launched an investigation and are currently hunting for the suspect who remains at large.
Following the incident, Schmidt’s wife, Zulya, shared a distressing message on Instagram, urging anyone with information to come forward as she prayed for her husband’s quick recovery.
“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,’ she wrote alongside a picture of the pair smiling.
“Thank you for your prayers. Believing God has the final say. I love you so much babe.”
In another post Zulya wrote: “I love you my handsome cowboy. Keep fighting papi. We need you!!”
As of now, the suspect remains at large. “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, according to FOX 10.
Victory Chapel, where Schmidt held the position of outreach director, provided a Friday update on his condition. “The family is encouraged by what they are seeing,” the church said, and asked for continued prayer.
On the evening of November 15, Schmidt’s father, Eric, shared a post about the incident.
“This is my son, Hans. On the night of Wednesday, Nov 15th 2023, he was shot in the head while attending a church outreach on the street at the intersection of 51st Ave and Peoria in Glendale, AZ,” Eric wrote.
“Single entry point on the side on the left temple. The bullet traveled through his brain and is still inside on the right side of his head. No one heard the shot or saw where it came from.”
Investigation Launched as Suspect on the Run
The shooting is currently under investigation, and authorities are actively seeking tips to identify the person responsible for the attack. At this point, authorities are uncertain whether Schmidt was specifically targeted or if the shooting was a random act of violence.
According to Eric, law enforcement and detectives have reviewed intersection video footage that captures the 26-year-old falling, subsequently getting back up, and continuing to walk and talk despite profuse bleeding.
“No one had realized what happened at first. He had started seizures and vomiting and they took him to the hospital,” Eric added.
“At the time of this post, he is sedated and stable on life support. They are draining fluid from his head to relieve pressure on his brain.
“So far they are saying it’s inoperable. It’s an incredibly sad situation. We are hoping for a miracle.
“If you have any information about the shooting, please contact the police.”
Gina Winn of the Glendale Police Department emphasized during a press conference that the incident is a “horrible, horrible offense.”
“51st Avenue and Peoria is a very busy intersection, so we know for a fact that there were people within the area. There were vehicles driving within the area, so we believe there is somebody within the Valley that does know something about what happened,” said Winn
“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.”
Schmidt was immediately taken to the hospital after the incident.
In a post on their website, Victory Chapel mentioned that he was “in desperate need of a miracle.” Two days later, there seemed to be a more positive outlook as they stated, “Family is encouraged by what they are seeing. Please continue to lift Hans up in prayer.”
To support Schmidt’s medical expenses, Victory Chapel set up a fund in his name. Officials are scheduled to interview additional witnesses as part of their efforts to identify a suspect in the ongoing investigation.