Sunday, April 19, 2009

Media Pager

This weekend I signed up to carry the media pager. In an effort to relive our PR person everyone on the marketing team was asked to sign up to cover the pager for at least one weekend this year.

Well this was my weekend. Megan reviewed the rules of responding to the media in the event that they called for a patient status of anyone taken to our hospitals. I had the worst anxiety the first night and woke up several times thinking that the pager had gone off. The weather really warmed up and I was told not to be surprised if there were a few accidents...

Friday morning just after 10:45 AM the pager began to ring. 10 pages and 8 calls to my cell phone later my head was spinning. There was a shooting in Grand Chute and the media wanted to know if the people were taken to either of our local hospitals. So my job was to call the ER. I was given ALL the details and was told that the family requested to be on a DO NOT PUBLISH status. So my job was to inform the media of absolutely nothing. Shortly after responding to FOX 11 I was notified that a film crew was on the campus of our Appleton Hospital trying to find out if one of the patients was there so I notified Security and they were quickly escorted off our campus. The calls continued for more then 24 hours and then the following story was released in the local paper. Although the media tried to trip me up with lots of questioning I did not release a single detail. So the following must have be released from the police and/or neighbors. The details of this story continue to run through my mind all day and night and my heart goes out to the children...

GRAND CHUTE — An off-duty Appleton firefighter shot and killed his estranged wife and wounded her mother Friday in the driveway of the home the couple once shared, Grand Chute Police Chief Greg Peterson said. Scott E. Schmidt, 38, of Chilton, parked his car about a half-mile from the home, 909 E. Edgewood Drive. Police do not know how long he was there or when he approached the home before the shooting at about 10:45 a.m.

Police say he shot his wife, Kelly Schmidt, 39, in the head and his mother-in-law, Barbara Wing, 66, in the chest. Kelly Schmidt was taken first to Appleton Medical Center, then transferred to Neenah's Theda Clark Medical Center, where she died at about 3:25 p.m. Wing's injuries are not life-threatening and police said she was released Friday.

An Appleton police officer was nearby when a 911 call came in reporting a possible shooting at 909 E. Edgewood Drive, just across the street from Fox Valley Lutheran High School. "He literally arrived moments later," Appleton police Sgt. Pat DeWall said from the scene. The officer and Schmidt saw one another. "As soon as he noticed the officer, he threw the gun down," DeWall said.

Schmidt, a lieutenant and decorated 15-year veteran of the fire department, has had a series of legal and marital troubles recently. He was convicted in September of domestic disorderly conduct. He previously had threatened to kill his wife, according to documents filed by his probation officer. His probation from the disorderly conduct conviction was revoked on March 11 and he was ordered not to possess guns. A judge also had ordered Schmidt to undergo alcohol and other drug abuse counseling and have a domestic abuse assessment.

Two young children were escorted from the home by authorities about 30 minutes after the shooting. Peterson said the children are the couple's, and they've been placed with relatives.


Jeni said...

wow bonnie, that is crazy!

Julie said...

That is crazy! What a sad story. People are CRAZY. Last winter her in Utah a man point blank shot and killed his wife in a church parking lot right before Sacrament meeting. His 5 kids and mother in law witnessed the whole thing. Crazy! Glad your turn with the pager is OVER!