A Hancock County deputy who accidentally shot himself while cleaning a gun at his Bayside Park home has died, Sheriff Ricky Adam said.
Adam identified him Wednesday as Deputy John Schmidt, 65, a veteran law enforcement officer and educator who had been hired as a part-time deputy on Dec. 18.
Schmidt died of an accidental gunshot wound to the chest, Adam said in a news release.
Initial investigation shows he was cleaning a personal firearm at his home when the gun discharged, Adam said.
Schmidt had joined the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department a little more than two weeks ago as a part-time deputy and was working to get reserve certification, the sheriff said.
“He was a very intelligent guy, and highly recommended,” Hancock County Deputy Don Bass said.
Bass knew of Schmidt from police work in New Orleans and because Schmidt was a New Orleans police officer in District 3 during the same time as Bass’ son.
“He had the skills to be a good police officer again, and just wanted to get back into it,” Bass said.
Schmidt is survived by his wife and three children.
First responders were called to Schmidt’s home on West Newtown Street about 6:15 p.m. Tuesday.
An American Medical Response ambulance crew drove him to Hancock Medical Center, and a Flight Care helicopter flew him to the University Medical Center in New Orleans, Adam said.
Schmidt was a veteran officer with the New Orleans Police Department and a reserve officer with the Madison (Mississippi) Police Department for three years before his retirement from law enforcement in 2000.
Schmidt also was a retired educator, having taught at Archbishop Rummel High School for 16 years. He primarily taught civics and psychology.
Funeral arrangements are pending.
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