Christians are being urged to pray for a street preacher in the US who is in a critical condition, after he was shot while promoting a church service in Arizona.
Hans Schmidt was shot in the head near Victory Chapel in Glendale, the church where he serves as outreach director, on Wednesday 15th October. Police are appealing for witnesses to come forward.
At a press conference, Gina Winn, the public information officer for the Glendale Police Department, reported that officers were dispatched in response to a service call concerning a male individual who had presented at a nearby hospital with a serious head injury. She added that it is unknown at the time how Schmidt was shot.
"This is a horrible, horrible offence," Winn continued. "We have a 26-year-old who was a military medic. He is recently married. He has two small children, and he is currently in a critical state. It is imperative that the public reach out if you do have information so that we can bring justice to Hans and his family.”
Reports from the local cable news channel 3TV/CBS 5 highlighted a witness Paul Sanchez, who works nearby and says he saw a vehicle drive past Schmidt with its occupants screaming and cursing at him.
"There was a lot of everything, really, hateful comments, people yelling at him, 'Get off the street,' all sorts of mean things," Sanchez was quoted as telling the outlet.
In the aftermath of the tragedy, Victory Chapel released a statement requesting prayers. "He is in critical condition and in desperate need of a miracle," the statement reads. "The family remains encouraged by what they are seeing and are rejoicing."
Similarly, Schmidt's wife, Zulya Schmidt, shared a statement urging people to keep her and her family in their prayers. She said, "Hans should have been gone that first night, but he's still here fighting. Please continue to pray for us! We desperately need it."