Christian preacher and father of two shot in the head while preaching at a busy intersection in Arizona

GLENDALE, AZ - According to several reports, a 26-year-old Christian man is in critical condition and fighting for his life after being shot in the head while preaching outside of a Glendale church. 

Police said that the shooting happened around 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 15th in the area of 51st Avenue and Peoria. The victim, Hans Schmidt, was reportedly standing on the corner of the intersection telling people about a church service being held nearby later that evening. 

Schmidt is a military veteran and a father of two young children, including a two-month-old baby. He was immediately rushed to the hospital where he remains in critical condition, fighting for his life. In a post on Instagram, his wife, Zulya, wrote, "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. I love you so much babe."

Gina Winn with the Glendale Police Department (GPD) said in a statement, "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."

Initial investigations are looking to figure out if Schmidt was targeted or if the shooting was random. Officials states that a technology known as a "Shot Spotter" was not installed in the area where Schmidt was shot. Winn said, "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."

Winn added, "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." On Friday morning, November 17th, Schmidt's wife posted again to Instagram, saying, "I love you my handsome cowboy. Keep fighting papi. We need you!"

Paul Sanchez, who works at a business near where the shooting happened said that he saw some people drive by, screaming and cursing at Schmidt as he preached. Sanchez said, "There was a lot of everything, really hateful comments, people yelling at him, 'get off the street,' all sorts of mean things. 

Sanchez added that he was "shocked" when the situation escalated since the man never responded to anyone who yelled or cursed at him. Henry Branch, who lives near the intersection where Schmidt was shot, said he was stunned to learn what had happened.

Branch 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." 

Two days after the shooting, Robert Waldrep prayed for Schmidt outside of the church. He said, "I just heard about this tragedy and wanted to come by and offer prayers and anything I could do to offer blessing over the family and over Hans himself."

After the shooting, businesses in the area were told by police to leave the area. The owner of Jesse James Comics said that he was in the middle of a livestream when the incident happened. In the video he can be heard saying, "Alright. Nothing like three cops at your door. OK. I am going to move my car, folks. I'll be right back because there was a shooting down the street and I won't be able to get out of the complex so hang out for three minutes and I'll be right back."

James recounted what happened once he left his store, "When I came out, they had changed the whole traffic, so the whole traffic was only down to one lane through the complex." He didn't learn about the shooting until the next day, Thursday, November 16th.

He said, "It's something where they preach so much on this corner and it's such a congested area. I always thought they might get hit by a car. I didn't know they would be shot." Following the tragedy, Victory Chapel released a statement, "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."

Police are actively 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. 
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