Re-examining the final moments of Tom Schweich’s life

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CLAYTON, MO (KPLR) – It’s chilling to read the description of what happened in the final moments of Tom Schweich’s life, but it’s important in helping understand what may have led the Missouri auditor to commit suicide.

At Schweich’s funeral on Tuesday, former U.S. Senator Jack Danforth referred to a phone call he had with Schweich on February 24, just two days before his death. Danforth said Schweich outlined plans to go public with what Schweich thought were anti-Semitic remarks being spread about him.

“I said I was concerned about his political future, that his focus should be on winning the election as governor and that the best approach would be to have someone else feed the story to the press and let the press run with it,” Danforth said.

According to Danforth, Schweich did not like that advice, and seemed irritated.

“(Schweich) may have thought that I had abandoned him and left him on the high ground, all alone to fight the battle that had to be fought,” he said.

And perhaps Schweich was going to fight that battle on Thursday, between 9 a.m. and 9:35 a.m. Schweich reportedly called several newspaper reporters to his house to feed them a story.

According to newly released information from Danforth aide Martha Fitz, Schweich’s chief of staff called Fitz earlier Thursday morning because she was worried about his emotional state.

Knowing that Fitz had a personal friendship with Schweich’s wife, Kathy, the chief of staff asked her to call the Schweich home.

According to a statement released by Fitz, she and Kathy Schweich spoke at 9:40 a.m. Thursday:

“Kathy told me that Tom was up 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 9-1-1 on another line while I stayed on the first line until the paramedics arrived.”

Fitz said she gave all of that information to the Clayton Police Department.

Fox 2 News will talk more about the aftermath of Tom Schweich’s death on this weekend’s edition of Post-Scripts, on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. and Sunday at 8:30 a.m.