JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – When the initial story emerged that State Auditor Tom Schweich had died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, one piece of the puzzle was missing: How was the Republican gubernatorial candidate scheduling a news conference minutes before a 911 call was placed?
On Thursday, a week after Schweich’s death, an assistant to Sen. Jack Danforth detailed Schweich’s final phone call. It was alluded to during Danforth’s eulogy earlier in the week, during which he expressed remorse for not standing by Schweich in his opposition to what he believed was a whisper campaign against him.
Martha Fitz, Danforth’s assistant, said in a statement:
I received a phone call at about 7:30 the morning of Tom’s death from Trish Vincent, Tom’s chief of staff in the auditor’s office. Trish told me she had become increasingly concerned about Tom’s emotional state. Knowing that I am close to the Schweichs, she asked me to call Tom’s wife, Kathy, and relay a request to call her; Trish had been unable that morning to reach Kathy herself. I promptly called Kathy’s cell as requested and, when no one answered, left a message.
At about 9:40 a.m. Kathy returned my call. We spoke briefly. Kathy told me that Tom was up and about and had been making phone calls. Tom then picked up the phone and talked to me for about three minutes. He spoke solely about his outrage concerning the rumors that were being spread about his religion and how he should respond to those rumors. I told him I thought it was best to let others stand up for him. He then threatened to kill himself and handed the phone back to Kathy. Seconds later I heard Kathy say, “He shot himself!” Kathy then called 911 on another line while I stayed on the first line with her until the paramedics arrived.