In a sad yet crazy story, a law firm partner was shot and killed after barricading himself in his luxury condo’s lobby and opening fire on the police. Very few details are available at the time. Indeed, what remotely comprehensible motive could there be for building a mini-fortress in your lobby and baiting the police into a firefight.
Making matters worse, the partner’s young daughter was in the lobby the whole time while he embarked on the strange behavior that ultimately led to his death….
Michael Schmidt (technically, Michael E. Schmidt — not to be confused with his father and law partner, who is also named Mike Schmidt), was a partner at The Schmidt Firm, a prominent Dallas-area law firm. He scored a highly-publicized victory last year winning a $10.5 million judgment for the family of a young woman killed by a “monster truck” outside a strip club. That’s a drunk-driving incident with a monster truck at a strip club, in case you forgot this is in Texas.
As NBCDFW reports:
Police said the incident began after the resident talked to an employee of the building.
”He reported to the employee that his apartment was being burglarized,” said Deputy Chief Gil Garza of the Dallas Police Department.
After that employee called for police, Schmidt reportedly moved to a hallway adjacent to the condominium’s lobby and began barricading himself inside.
When officers arrived, they spoke to the employee and were informed of the Schmidt’s location and that he was armed.
“According to the employee, the individual shot at officers when officers tried to speak with him. The officers then retreated into cover.” Garza said.
Thankfully, the officers were unharmed. Also unharmed was Schmidt’s 11-year-old daughter, who unbeknownst to the police was in the hallway with Schmidt during the shootout. Whatever set off Schmidt was serious enough that the devoted father — according to all the sources talking to the media — became indifferent to his daughter’s safety.
Indeed, more than just a good father, everyone describes him as a nice, even-keeled man, making this all the more shocking:
Schmidt also had a real connection with people, his friend and fellow lawyer Randy Johnston said.
“The clients that hired Michael didn’t just get his head, they got his heart,” Johnston said.
Nicholas Turchiano, whom Schmidt represented in a 2010 personal injury case, said he was impressed by his counsel.
“I don’t have anything but positive things to say about him,” Turchiano said. “I’m just beside myself because he’s such a nice person and a very talented lawyer.”
Schmidt represented the family of a woman who was run over by a monster truck outside a Dallas strip club. In a unanimous verdict in February 2013, the jury awarded $10.5 million to the family of 23-year-old Kasey McKenzie, who sued the Spearmint Rhino and the truck driver.
Dallas lawyer Mark Siegel recruited Schmidt to serve as the lead attorney on the case. He said he “had faith in his competence” and respected him as a person.
“I’ve never heard him say anything bad about anybody,” Siegel said. “He may not have liked some lawyers’ approach to litigation, but he wouldn’t really bad-mouth that lawyer, which is admirable. It takes a lot of lawyers a long time to learn that.”
Authorities await a toxicology report, which may provide the best insight into this case as a police dispatch suggested that Schmidt was acting “kinda high” at the time.
Dallas Police Fatally Shoot Armed Resident in Condominium Lobby [NBCDFW]
Prominent Dallas civil lawyer killed in shootout with police [Dallas Morning News]
Prominent Dallas lawyer killed in confrontation with police at luxury apartment in Uptown [Dallas Morning News]
Lawyer shot by officers after reporting burglary near Uptown in Dallas [WFAA]