Evangelist shot while preaching shows signs of recovery but 'not out of woods yet,' pastor says

Hans and Zulya Schmidt
Hans and Zulya Schmidt | GoFundMe/Brad Currell on behalf of Zulya Schmidt

Pastor Gary Marsh of Victory Chapel First Phoenix has vowed that his church will never stop preaching on the streets as the church's outreach director is showing some signs of recovery after being shot in the head last week. 

During Wednesday night's worship service, Marsh gave a brief update on the situation surrounding Hans Schmidt, a father of two, who was shot while street preaching on the corner of 51st Avenue and Peoria in Glendale last Wednesday evening before service. Schmidt is hospitalized in critical condition.  

"It's up and down. It's up and down. He's not out of the woods yet, folks," Marsh said. "He's showing signs that he is on his way to recovery, but he's not out of the woods yet. We just need to continue to lift him up and lift up [his wife] Zulya. That poor, dear thing. She's just got to be beside herself." 

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During the Sunday night worship service, Marsh told his congregation that it's been a very "chaotic situation" since the shooting.

"We stood out on the same street corner the last two nights in a row in large numbers to make a statement: Satan, you are not going to stop us," he said. 

"We are not wishing evil things upon the perpetrator, but pray that he would at least be brought to light and let the law system handle him," Marsh added. "We're not going to go hunt his head, but let the law take care of him. Let it come to light, and let it be found out who he, she — whatever it is — become known," he added. 

Marsh vowed, "We're never going to stop doing God's work." 

"We're never going to stop preaching on the streets. We're never going to stop outreaching and sharing the Gospel. We're never going to stop proclaiming the name of Jesus to a lost world. That's never going to end in this congregation," Marsh stressed. 

"I give you my word, and even if I'm not around, the guy that follows me, he's going to be more radical than I am; just plan on that. That's what we are. That's who we are as a fellowship."

During the morning service that day, a leader who read off the announcements explained that roughly 100 people from various churches gathered on Friday to preach on the street corner and stand in solidarity with Schmidt.  

"We saw people saved that night. I know of at least two people who got saved. It might have been more than that," the speaker said. 

Last Saturday, the speaker added that people also gathered to show support, some coming from other churches from near and far. 

"Probably 80 to 100 people were there on all four street corners out here proclaiming the Gospel, letting them know that Jesus is still alive no matter what our circumstances are," the speaker said.

The young outreach director remains in critical condition as an investigation is being conducted by law enforcement to find the perpetrator and determine the circumstances that led to the shooting.

​​Gina Winn, the public information officer for the Glendale Police Department, said during a press conference following the incident that law enforcement is "seeking the public's assistance in obtaining any information regarding what could have happened." 

She said that the intersection in question is typically busy, and it is likely there were people in the area when the incident occurred. 

"We believe there is somebody within the valley that does know something about what happened," Winn said. 

"This is a horrible, horrible offense. 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," she added. 

The Glendale Police Department requests that anyone who knows any information regarding the incident call its non-emergency number at 623-930-3000.

Nicole Alcindor is a reporter for The Christian Post. 

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