Clayton police chief Tom Schweichs death apparent suicide

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CLAYTON - Clayton Police Chief Kevin Murphy said Missouri Auditor and gubernatorial candidate Thomas A. Schweich, 54, died Thursday of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound inside his home.

The shooting occurred just minutes after Schweich had called The Associated Press to invite a reporter to his home for an afternoon interview, according to the wire service.

The Associated Press said Schweich had 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.

Reporters at Murphy's news conference asked several questions about what may have been behind Schweich's death, but the police chief said that wasn't immediately clear.

"What we know at this point suggests an apparent suicide," Murphy said. "We're conducting a thorough investigation. We talked to everyone who was there. We looked for all the encompassing information from family and friends. We'll look at the autopsy, and we'll go from there."

Murphy said at 9:48 a.m., Clayton police officers responded to a call for a gunshot wound in the 7100 block of Wydown Boulevard. Paramedics attended to the victim, who was identified as Schweich. Clayton fire officials transferred Scweich to Barnes-Jewish Hospital's Trauma Center, where he was subsequently pronounced dead from a single gunshot wound.

Autopsy results will be made available at 7:30 a.m. Friday morning, Murphy said.

At least one family member was in the residence at the time police were called, he said. Murphy would not comment on the type of gun used, who specifically was in the home at the time, or where specifically the bullet hit Schweich.

Murphy said nothing suggests drug or alcohol use at this point, and said he is not aware of any history of mental illness or a political smear campaign.

Schweich was born on Oct. 2, 1960, in St. Louis, and was educated in the St. Louis County Public Schools. After earning his undergraduate degree from Yale, he studied law at Harvard University. He worked as an attorney before serving with the federal government under former U.S. Sen. John Danforth.

In 1999, Schweich was appointed Chief of Staff for Danforth's investigation of the 1993 siege of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas. He also served under Danforth and three other ambassadors in the United Nations.

Schweich worked as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State under the Bush administration. In 2007, he was named ambassador by President George W. Bush himself.

Schweich's death prompted swift and shocked reaction from politicians. Lawmakers held a prayer service in his honor inside of the Missouri House of Representatives.

He is survived by his wife Kathy and his two daughters.

(Editor's Note: This story is being updated with information as it becomes available.)