MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Police cars escorted Shawn Schneider’s body Saturday morning back to Lake City, where funeral arrangements are underway.
Flags across Lake City fell to half-staff as Schneider’s body returned, and dozens of residents placed blue lights and blue ribbons in front of their homes as a tribute to the officer’s service.
A 32-year-old father of three young children, Schneider suffered a gunshot wound to the head earlier this month and died Friday evening, according to a Mayo Clinic spokesperson.
A 25-year-old gunman, Alan J. Sylte Jr., shot Schneider on Dec. 19 as he responded to a domestic disturbance involving a handgun.
“By Officer Schneider taking that hit, he saved a lot of lives, and, for that, he’s a hero,” said Linda Kohrs, of Lake City, at the VFW post that held a benefit for Schneider last Thursday.
Schneider succumbed to his wounds at around 5:30 p.m. at St. Marys Hospital in Rochester, according to the Wabasha County Sherriff’s Office.
Schneider, who served the Lake City Police Department since 2003, is survived by his wife and three children.
Mary Hill, a librarian at the school attended by Schneider’s children, prayed for the wounded officer to pull through.
“We were praying for a miracle,” she said. “I can see two of the three children, I can see them in my mind. You want to just want to give them a hug.”
Hill and her husband, Jerry, placed giant blue ribbons across their front yard as a way of thanking Schneider for his service.
Jerry Hill said that losing Schneider was like losing a friend.
Sylte, of Hager City, Wis., shot Schneider as Schneider approached a home at which a disturbance was reported. Sylte fired two shots, one of which struck Schneider in the head.
After a day-long standoff, authorities found Sylte dead on the house’s second floor, where he likely shot himself in the head, police said.
A 17-year-old girl who escaped the house said she had broken up with Sylte the week before.
Sylte, an Iraq war veteran, was in the process of being discharged, according to the Wisconsin National Guard.
The Lake City community rallied behind Schneider. The school at which his young children study sent him handmade cards and his supporters held a candlelight vigil outside the Mayo Clinic. On Facebook, the Prayer Page for Officer Shawn Schneider received more than 5,000 “Likes.”
On that page, there are hundreds of comments made by those who are mourning his death.
A fund has been set up to help Officer Schneider’s family. Donations can be sent to:
Shawn Schneider Fund
105 E. Lyon Avenue
Lake City, MN 55041