By John Celock
Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich (R), a 2016 gubernatorial candidate, died Thursday from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
Schweich died at a St. Louis area hospital following the gunshot wound which occurred at his suburban St. Louis home, PoliticMO.com reported. Schweich, who was reelected to a second year term last year, was locked in a competitive 2016 Republican gubernatorial contest with former state House Speaker Catherine Hathaway.
Schweich had a long career in the federal government prior to his 2010 run for state auditor. He served as chief of staff to former U.S. Sen. John Danforth’s (R) probe in the 1993 FBI raid on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Tx.
Schweich served as chief of staff to three U.S. ambassadors to the United Nations and later served as deputy assistant secretary of state and acting assistant secretary of state working on international narcotics issues in the second Bush Administration. He also held the personal rank of ambassador while working on combating narcotics in Afghanistan.
Missouri leaders have expressed their condolences to Schweich’s family. Gov. Jay Nixon (D) has ordered flags to half staff statewide.
“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 in a statement. “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.”
The Missouri Legislature held a prayer service after hearing of Schweich’s death. Secretary of State Jason Kander (D) released a statement mourning Schweich.
“Tom Schweich was a devoted public servant that I feel fortunate to have gotten to know as a friend and colleague over the past few years,” Kander said. “Whether he was serving as our state auditor, the U.S. Coordinator for Counternarcotics and Justice Reform in Afghanistan, or working at the State Department, Tom always fought tirelessly for the people he was serving. Anyone who had a conversation with Tom knew how dedicated he was to his service. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife Kathy and his children Emilie and Thomas, Jr.”