Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich dies from self-inflicted gunshot w - KCTV5 News

Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich dies from self-inflicted gunshot wound

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Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich has died after shooting himself in the head while at home Thursday morning.

A prayer service was held in the Missouri House chambers Thursday afternoon with state leaders from the legislative and executive branches in attendance.

"It is with great sadness that I confirm the passing of Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich today," office spokesman Spence Jackson said in a two-sentence statement. "Please keep in mind his wife Kathy and two children."

Clayton Police Chief Kevin Murphy said the initial investigation indicates that Schweich took his own life. A handgun was found.

"There is nothing to suggest anything other than that at this point," he said. "Everything at this point suggests that it is an apparent suicide."

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Schweich's wife was at home when he shot himself, and that earlier Thursday morning he had called newspaper and Associated Press reporters to ask them to come to his home for an interview Thursday afternoon.

Murphy would only say that a family member was home, and would not say whether a suicide note was found. He said a thorough investigation is being conducted, and family members are cooperating with investigators.

The 911 call from the state auditor's home was made at 9:48 a.m. Thursday.

Initially, Jackson said Schweich "experienced a medical situation at his home" in Clayton on Thursday morning and was being treated at Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis.

Jackson declined to release any other details about the situation, asking for privacy for Schweich and his family.

Schweich, 54, was a Republican who won re-election to a second, four-year term in November. He was so popular that Democrats didn't even mount a challenge to him. He was first elected in 2010 when he upset then Auditor Susan Montee.

Schweich announced a month ago that he was seeking the Republican nomination for governor in 2016. He was one of two challengers to represent the GOP against Democratic Chris Koster, who is attorney general, next year. Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, cannot run for re-election due to term limits.

Nixon canceled appearances for Thursday afternoon in St. Louis. After Schweich's death was announced, Nixon ordered flags lowered to half staff and he attended the prayer service.

“I join all Missourians in mourning the passing of State Auditor Tom Schweich, a brilliant, devoted and accomplished public servant who dedicated his career to making Missouri and the world a better place,” Nixon said. “From his courageous work to combat the illegal drug trade abroad in Afghanistan to his tireless efforts to protect the interests of taxpayers here in Missouri, Tom Schweich's exceptional intellect and unwavering dedication to public service left a legacy that will endure for many years to come. The First Lady and I send our most heartfelt condolences to Tom's wife Kathy and two children, Emilie and Thomas, Jr.”

Elected officials from both parties issued condolence statements following the announcement.

"Tom was very smart, very capable, outstanding at his job, and a good friend. Our thoughts and prayers are with Kathy, their children, and the rest of Tom's friends and family as they deal with this tragic loss," according to a statement from U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-MO.

Former Missouri House Speaker and U.S. Attorney Catherine Hanaway, who was Schweich's leading rival for the GOP nomination, called him "an extraordinary man with an extraordinary record of service to our state and nation.”

Last week in an ad, a conservative group issued an ad saying that Schweich was a weak candidate who Koster would "squash like a bug" in a general election.

Click here to read more statements from condolences from elected leaders. As of 7 p.m. Thursday, the state auditor's website had not been changed to reflect Schweich's death and still included a welcome message from him.

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