Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich, who had recently launched a Republican campaign for governor, fatally shot himself Thursday in what police described as an “apparent suicide” — just minutes after inviting reporters to his suburban St. Louis home for an interview.

Schweich’s death stunned many of Missouri’s top elected officials, who described him as a “brilliant” and “devoted” public servant with an “unblemished record” in office. Just 13 minutes before police got an emergency call from his home, Schweich had a phone conversation with The Associated Press about his plans to go public that afternoon with allegations that the head of the Missouri Republican Party had made anti-Semitic comments about him.

The state GOP chairman denied doing so in an interview later Thursday. Chairman John Hancock said “it’s plausible that I would have told somebody that Tom was Jewish because I thought he was, but I wouldn’t have said it in a derogatory or demeaning fashion.”

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