March 1, 2015

Funeral set for Schweich, interim Missouri auditor appointed

A memorial service for Missouri Auditor and candidate for governor Tom Schweich will be held Tuesday at the church he attended in Clayton. The service will be at 10 a.m. at the Church of St. Michael and St. George.

Tom Schweich

Tom Schweich

Schweich died Thursday morning in what police say was an apparent suicide.

Governor Jay Nixon has appointed his senior advisor and long-time staffer as Missouri State Auditor until he makes a permanent appointment. Nixon says John Watson will fill the role until Nixon designates someone to fill out the rest of Tom Schweich’s four-year term, which began in January.

Nixon says Watson will, “serve as state auditor and carry out the important functions of the office until a permanent appointment is made.”

Watson has worked with Nixon since 1997, when he was chief of staff while Nixon was attorney general. He was Nixon’s chief of staff from January 2009 through December of 2014.

“I have tremendous respect for the State Auditor’s Office, and I will carry out these duties in service to the people of Missouri,” Watson said. “I continue to keep Tom Schweich’s family and friends in my thoughts and prayers, and join them in mourning this loss.”

Some victims and shooter in south Missouri spree identified

Some of the eight victims shot early Friday morning in southern Missouri, and the man who shot them, have been identified.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol reports that 36-year-old Joseph Jesse Aldridge, apparently killed seven individuals and injured another at multiple residences in Tyrone, Missouri before fleeing and killing himself on February 26, 2015. Aldridge, who was found dead inside his vehicle in nearby Shannon County, is a cousin of the victims. Photo provided by Missouri State Highway Patrol/UPI

The Missouri State Highway Patrol reports that 36-year-old Joseph Jesse Aldridge, apparently killed seven individuals and injured another at multiple residences in Tyrone, Missouri before fleeing and killing himself on February 26, 2015. Aldridge, who was found dead inside his vehicle in nearby Shannon County, is a cousin of the victims. Photo provided by Missouri State Highway Patrol/UPI

The Highway Patrol says 36-year-old Joseph Jesse Aldridge was the man who fatally shot seven people and wounded one in and around his hometown of Tyrone, before killing himself. He was found dead in a vehicle in neighboring Shannon County.

Authorities also found Aldridge’s mother, 74-year-old Alice L. Aldridge, dead. She appears to have died of natural causes, and one possibility police are investigating was that he came home and found her dead before going on the killing spree.

Four of the victims were cousins of Aldridge. Some of them have been identified as 52-year-old Gerald Dee Aldridge and his wife 47-year-old Julie Ann Aldridge, and 50-year-old Harold Wayne Aldridge and his wife 48-year-old Janell Arlisa Aldridge.

Authorities are still trying to notify relatives of the other victims, but say they were not from the same family. None of the victims were children.

Investigators are talking to the woman who was shot but is expected to survive.

NWS: up to 6″ of snow possible in parts of Missouri this weekend

A large swath of Missouri could see up to half-a-foot of snow this weekend based on projections from the National Weather Service.

This weather graphic from the National Weather Service includes predicted total snowfall by Sunday night.

This weather graphic from the National Weather Service includes predicted total snowfall by Sunday night.

Meteorologist Spencer Mell told Missourinet the storm that could bring that snow is pushing our way from the Pacific Northwest this morning and will cross the western U.S. through today and tomorrow.

“Looks like we’ll probably start to see snow enter into western Missouri as we get into the very late morning hours tomorrow, and then we’ll see that continue through the afternoon on Saturday overspreading most of the area between Interstate 44 and Interstate 70 through most of the afternoon, and then continuing through Saturday night when we’ll probably see the bulk of the snowfall fall across the area,” said Mell. “Then even perhaps a second shot as we get into the day on Sunday.”

The heaviest snow is expected to fall in an area from roughly St. Joseph to Kirksville in northern Missouri, to as far south as a Nevada to St. Louis line.

Snow is expected to begin accumulating by Saturday night.

“We’ll see snow totals by Saturday evening pretty much around the inch to two-inch range. By the time we get through Saturday night we’ll probably look at snowfall totals already reaching that three to five-inch range,” Mell said. “By the time we add up all our snowfall totals by Sunday evening we’re probably looking at a four to six total snowfall range for this whole event.”

Mell says Missourians should pay attention to the weather this weekend and be prepared to alter travel plans, and those that do have to get out should allow extra time to do so.

UPDATE: Nine reported dead in southern Missouri crime scenes

11:00am update

Authorities have found nine people dead in six separate crime scenes in two southern Missouri counties.

Highway Patrol spokesman Jeff Kinder said a juvenile girl heard gunshots in her home in the Texas County town of Tyrone and ran to a neighbor’s house to call law enforcement.

“Responding deputies found two deceased persons at this residence. Further investigation revealed five additional victims who were deceased and one additional victim who was wounded in three additional residences,” said Kinder.

The names of the dead are not being released while family members are still being contacted. The County Coroner told Missourinet affiliate KTTS the victims ranged in age from their 40s to their 60s.

Authorities believe a 36-year-old male, who was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound in a vehicle in Shannon County, murdered 6 people and wounded one other. An elderly woman was also found dead but is believed to have died of natural causes.

Earlier story:

Nine people have reportedly been killed in multiple crime scenes in and around Texas County in south-central Missouri.

The state Highway Patrol tells Missourinet affiliate KTTS eight people were murdered and the apparent killer was found dead in Shannon County.

Sheriff James Sigman tells the Houston Herald four of those crime scenes are in the town of Tyrone and there are possibly two others outside his county.

The Herald reports that the Houston School District has informed staff to arrive early to work for counseling sessions.

A media conference has been rescheduled for 9:00 this morning while law enforcement continue to notify relatives of the deceased.

Don Louzader reports

Reports: Schweich called reporters minutes before apparent suicide

Clayton police are investigating the death of Missouri auditor and candidate for governor Tom Schweich as an apparent suicide. They were called to Schweich’s home shortly before 10 Thursday morning.

The campaign site for Tom Schweich's campaign for governor has been replaced with this photo of his family and the message, "Please join with all Missourians in praying for Tom’s family, including his wife Kathy and children, Emilie and Thomas, Jr."

The website for Tom Schweich’s campaign for governor has been replaced with this photo of his family and the message, “Please join with all Missourians in praying for Tom’s family, including his wife Kathy and children, Emilie and Thomas, Jr.”

An autopsy is scheduled for this morning at 7:30.

“Everything we know at this time is that it is an apparent act at Mr. Schweich’s own hand and family is cooperating with our investigation,” Clayton Police Chief Kevin Murphy said in a press conference Thursday.

One thing Murphy said will be looked into is a possible motive, and what was happening leading up to the incident.

“Family and friends, we are talking to, and I want to make it clear that at this point everyone is cooperating with our investigation,” Murphy told reporters.

Murphy said at least one family member was in Schweich’s Clayton home with him when police were called.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that minutes before the shooting, Schweich had made phone calls to set up an interview to discuss his belief a top Republican party official was spreading false information about his religion.

Clayton Police Chief Kevin Murphy addresses the police on the investigation of the apparent suicide of Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich.

Clayton Police Chief Kevin Murphy addresses the police on the investigation of the apparent suicide of Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich.

“We do a thorough investigation, and that would include all information that we are told that we can develop through the course of our investigation, whatever that might give us,” Murphy said.

The Post-Dispatch reports Schweich believed Republican Party chairman John Hancock, elected last weekend, was saying Schweich is Jewish to hurt him politically in the gubernatorial primary race, as many Republican voters are evangelical Christians. Hancock tells the Dispatch he had once thought Schweich was Jewish but denied saying so in a derogatory manner.

Schweich had reportedly planned to hold a press conference in Jefferson City this week to accuse Hancock of making an anti-Semitic remark and Hancock went to Jefferson City to be at that conference and present his side of the story. That conference never happened.

Schweich, 54, had two children with his wife Kathy.  Governor Jay Nixon (D) will appoint an auditor to fill out Schweich’s 4-year term, which began in January.