JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich is dead in what police are describing as an "apparent suicide" at his suburban St. Louis home.
The shooting occurred just minutes after Schweich had called The Associated Press to invite a reporter to his home for an afternoon interview.
Schweich said he wanted to go public with accusations that the Missouri Republican Party chairman had made anti-Semitic remarks about him. The GOP chairman denied the accusations Thursday.
Clayton police say paramedics responded to an emergency call at 9:48 a.m. and Schweich was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead from a single gunshot wound.
The 54-year-old Schweich had been auditor since 2011 and had recently announced his candidacy for governor in 2016.
Gov. Jay Nixon released a statement after confirmation of Schweich's death and ordered flags at all Missouri state facilities to be immediately lowered to half-staff to honor his passing.
"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 her in Missouri, Tom Schweich's exceptional intellect and unwavering dedication to public service left a legacy that will endure for many years to come."
Before entering politics, Schweich worked as a private-sector attorney and for the federal government. He also served as chief of staff to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations and later worked in the State Department, where he was assigned to coordinate an anti-drug initiative in Afghanistan.
I am very sad and hurt so much for Tom Schweich's family. Good man. Dedicated public servant. Hug those you love.— Claire McCaskill (@clairecmc) February 26, 2015
I am shocked and saddened to hear the tragic news about State Auditor Tom Schweich. My thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family.— Ann Wagner (@RepAnnWagner) February 26, 2015
My thoughts and prayers are with the Schweich family. http://t.co/iKQxAoIdnO— Jason Kander (@JasonKander) February 26, 2015
Life is precious. Hug the ones you love. My thoughts and prayers are with Tom Schweich and his family.— Jennifer M. Joyce (@JenniferJoyceCA) February 26, 2015