Friends and family of 33-year-old Martin Schmidt took to the ocean Saturday morning December 30th, for a “paddle out” tribute to the longtime Santa Monica resident and avid surfer.
Schmidt, who grew up in the south side of Santa Monica, died Tuesday, December 26th, after police said he fell from a third-floor apartment on Fourth Street in an apparent attempt to flee from police detectives.
He was the father of a one-year-old daughter, Hana, and had reportedly been together with his girlfriend, Jessica Slaten, for 15 years.
Friends of Schmidt said they were shocked to learn of the incident and the circumstances surrounding his death.
“It has shattered a lot of people around here,” said Cyrus Pickering, a friend of Schmidt’s since the sixth grade.
Santa Monica police Lt. Alex Padilla said Schmidt was wanted for an alleged attempted robbery of a Santa Monica market on Fourth Street earlier in the day, December 26th.
Schmidt had allegedly walked in to the Budget Market at 2331 Fourth St. carrying a baseball bat, threatened store employees and attempted to rob them, Padilla said.
After he was apparently recognized by employees, Schmidt fled the market without taking anything, Padilla said.
A follow-up investigation led Santa Monica police detectives to an apartment complex in the 2900 block of Fourth Street, where Schmidt was living with family members.
The family members allowed the detectives to search the apartment and Schmidt was found hiding inside one of the bedrooms, Padilla said.
As the officers tried talking with Schmidt and gave him verbal commands to surrender, he “suddenly turned,” ran through the bedroom and crashed through a closed window, Padilla said.
Schmidt fell from the third-floor apartment to the ground below and suffered major injuries, he said.
Paramedics treated Schmidt at the scene before taking him to a local hospital, where he later died from his injuries.
“It was a traumatic incident for everyone involved,” Padilla said.
Schmidt is survived by his daughter, Hana; girlfriend, Jessica; mother Steffani; and sister Jeanette.
Friends said Schmidt, who was nicknamed “Q-Tip,” was born in Germany but spent most of his life in Santa Monica.
He was a graduate of Santa Monica High School and received a bachelor of science degree in business from San Francisco State University.
Pickering said Schmidt was also a “very gifted athlete,” especially at baseball.
Among his other loves was surfing. He and his friends would go surfing at the beach near Ocean Park Boulevard, close to where they grew up.
In honor of Schmidt, friends and family gathered on that beach at Lifeguard Station Number 26 early December 30th to hold a “paddle out” ceremony, a traditional surfing memorial in which surfers form a circle out in the ocean.
“He was a really positive person,” Pickering said of his friend. “He was always so full of life and energetic.”