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Posted on Sun, Dec 23, 2012 : 10:55 a.m.

Former U-M rowing team standout Bill Schnittman killed in murder-suicide in Oklahoma

By Sven Gustafson


Former University of Michigan rowing team member Bill Schnittman, with hand raised, is shown in this undated photograph.

Photo from

This story has been updated to add comments and details from U-M rowing team coach Gregg Hartsuff.

A former four-year oarsman for the University of Michigan rowing team who had aspirations to join the U.S. national team was killed in Oklahoma City Friday after a domestic quarrel spiraled into a murder-suicide.

Bill Schnittman, a member of the national champion U-M men's rowing teams of 2008, 2009 and 2010, died after being shot by the estranged husband of his girlfriend, according to published reports. He was 25.

The Bloomfield Hills native had moved to Oklahoma City after graduating in 2010 to train with the National High Performance Center for a berth on the men's national team and to one day compete in the Olympic Games.

“It's very difficult to adequately express our shock and sadness over the death of one of our own athletes," USRowing Chief Executive Officer Glenn Merry said in a statement posted to "This young man had a life ahead of him and Olympic dreams in his future. Our community lost a unique teammate. He was well liked and he will be missed."

Police believe Schnittman was shot by Darrell Kurt Wilson, 36, his girlfriend's estranged husband.

According to reports, police arrived at the scene of a hostage situation at an Oklahoma City home around 3 a.m. Friday. There, they saw Wilson holding Schnittman's girlfriend hostage in a Jaguar but persuaded him to let her go. Wilson escaped in his car.

Police who searched the home found Schnittman, who had been shot multiple times and was later pronounced dead. The woman told officers she had been sexually assaulted by Wilson.

A high-speed pursuit of Wilson ended on Interstate 35, near the Oklahoma River, when the suspect died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Both Schnittman and his girlfriend had filed for a protective orders against Wilson, according to reports. Schnittman claimed that Wilson had been talking and harassing him multiple times, including sending death threats. The protective order was denied.

The woman had filed for divorce from Wilson the week before.

U-M men's rowing team coach Gregg Hartsuff said Michigan Crew was Schnittman's passion during his time in college from 2006-2010.

"He was one of the personalities that people are drawn to," Hartsuff said Sunday. "He was kind of the ringleader of enthusiasm, if you will. Certainly a talented guy, he did end up rowing on varsity. Like any athlete, he had his ups and downs in his career. But like any athlete, he wanted to be better."

In an email to and U-M rowing members, Hartsuff said Scnittman "pulled the 4th best Freshman 2K ever his freshman year, and Bill was the 5-seat in one of the fastest varsity eights I have coached here — the 2009 Varsity eight that won the Dad Vail convincingly and ACRA in the most impressive fashion it has been done."

Schnittman also served as team officer for two years and team secretary during his junior and senior years, his former coach said. He served as novice boys coach for the Oklahoma City Riversport Chesapeake Junior Crew program this past spring and had worked at national team development camps during recent summers in Madison, Wis. and Philadelphia.

"He was a character, so people kind of always knew who Bill was," Hartsuff said. "There's going to be a fairly large contingent, now just from our team, but all over the U.S. who are mourning Bill's loss."

Schnittman is survived by his parents, Arthur and Virginia, and his identical twin brother, Bob, who also briefly rowed for U-M.

Below is coverage of the incident from Oklahoma City's NewsOn6: - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - |



Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 2:52 a.m.

R you have such confidence fo a women that has just been through such a tramatic experience. Maybe since all you children are away right now, you would like to to the truth as to what really drove Mr Wilson to do the things that he did. Please remember, there are two sides to every story.


Wed, Dec 26, 2012 : 5:24 a.m.

I was a victim of domestic violence where i was strangled and beat up bad. My heart goes out to this family. i live in Oklahoma and my ex is awaiting jury trial. He will have been in jail 14 months before the trial begins. I am afraid he will kill me when he gets out and so is my adult children and our friends. Laws have got to be changed. This is so crazy. These people have to answer for what they are doing. Laws must get stricter so we get and keep these people off the streets if need be for life. Until laws get stricter these abusers are going to keep doing it because they are just getting slaps on the hands. Come on peopl!!!


Tue, Dec 25, 2012 : 3:56 p.m.

It is a good thing that Darrell Kurt Wilson had a gun for protection. Just think of what would have happen if he did not have a weapon to defend himself and protect his honor.


Tue, Dec 25, 2012 : 1:37 p.m.

The NRA's list of places needing armed guards appears to be growing: From schools (of course there were two armed guards at Columbine who exchanged gunfire with the perpetrators) . . . . To SWAT teams on routine fire calls (two firemen shot and killed and two wounded when responding to a fire call in upstate NY on Christmas Eve) . . . To upscale bars (one killed and one wounded in a Seattle bar where 600 patrons were celebrating the Seahawks' victory Sunday) . . . And now to armed guards 24/7 at one's home. The NRA and its gun nut supporters don't have blood on their hands. They're swimming in an ocean of it and insisting that the rest of us jump in, too.


Tue, Dec 25, 2012 : 11:38 a.m.

Did you move? If not, sorry, but the MI Constitution is yours. If you did move, that is good news.


Mon, Dec 24, 2012 : 7:19 p.m.



Mon, Dec 24, 2012 : 6:06 p.m.

Thoughts and prayers to the mans wife and boyfriends family.


Mon, Dec 24, 2012 : 2:25 p.m.

According to an article in, there have been 146 firearm related murders since the tragedy in Newtown on Dec 14. (not including the one in this article) Clearly what we need is more guns, 270,000,000 are not enough to protect the 300,000,000 people in this country. I say this as a person that owns a half dozen myself. I use a large dog for home protection, so far we have a perfect record of no shootings or break ins at my residence.

Ann English

Tue, Dec 25, 2012 : 1:13 a.m.

I had quite forgotten that men can receive court-ordered protection just like women. I've read of ex-wives getting protective court orders, but died at the hands of their ex-husbands anyway. The other comment posters give me the impression that court-ordered protection would be more effective for men than for women. Sometimes, not always, divorce brings out the worst in men. And they have used non-gun methods of taking or trying to take the lives of their ex- or soon-to-be ex-wives: fire, knives, drowning.


Mon, Dec 24, 2012 : 11:11 a.m.

How terribly sad and tragic and how unfortunate that the protective orders were denied. The process for reviewing protective orders needs to be reviewed.

Charley Sullivan

Mon, Dec 24, 2012 : 6:17 a.m.

By the way, the photo is from the 2009 Varsity 8 victory at the Dad Vail Regatta in Philadelphia.


Mon, Dec 24, 2012 : 4:27 a.m.

Very sad situation. Wish Coach Hartless could have been a little more positive in his comments toward one of his (actually, one of ours, M family) rower. Please pray for his family who is undoubtedly suffering during this tragic loss.

Charley Sullivan

Mon, Dec 24, 2012 : 2:40 a.m.

Along with Gregg Hartsuff, I coached Bill for his four years at Michigan. And in my nearly 20 years of coaching here, I think I can honestly say that Bill got more of our attention than almost any other athlete. Not just because of his athleticism, but because he was a unique individual who cared passionately about rowing at Michigan, and who was not afraid to speak his mind. I learned more about coaching the individual athlete from working with Bill than from almost any athlete in my career. Bill wore his heart on his sleeve, for good and for bad. You knew what he was thinking. I was so glad to see him growing into a fine adult, taking on the responsibilities of helping raise children, and making strides in his attempt to join the elite ranks of American rowers. He was living his life on his own terms, something most of us don't have the courage to do. I already miss him terribly. Personally, and even though I'm fairly sure Bill wouldn't have agreed with my position on guns, I would gladly trade every gun in this country to have Bill back. And I ask you, are your gun rights really more important than a promising young man's life? If so, which family member's life are you willing to give up for them? I just want him back. And that's not going to happen. Thanks to all of you who have sent your messages of love and support. Bill's gone. GO BLUE!

Billy Bob Schwartz

Mon, Dec 24, 2012 : 12:13 a.m.

Is the NRA view on this that the solution is to put a police officer in every home?

Billy Bob Schwartz

Mon, Dec 24, 2012 : 10:16 p.m.

The U.S. Constitution is the one that counts, and here is what it says: "Amendment II A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." Source: U.S. National Archives transcription" The Michigan Constitution is a long ways from being MY constitution, and I can't wait until the U.S. Constitution is amended to bring that realization to the people who think guns on every walking creature is how to enjoy peace and tranquility.


Mon, Dec 24, 2012 : 12:37 a.m.

Who cares, here is what YOUR constitution says: 6 Bearing of arms. Sec. 6. Every person has a right to keep and bear arms for the defense of himself and the state. Oh, my oh my, no discussion of militia at all. Now there is an inconvenient truth.


Sun, Dec 23, 2012 : 11:35 p.m.

When guns are outlawed only criminals will have guns. This was a needless homicide and one that could have been avoided if there had been less reliance on court orders and more reliance on personal defense in the face of credible threats.


Mon, Dec 24, 2012 : 2:16 p.m.

Here is an idea for all of those "controlling socialists": We could raise taxes and hire more government employees, then arm them to the teeth. This is exactly what the so-called conservatives have been clamoring for for years, right? Given the fact that these people had no known restrictions on their right to own firearms I can see no way in which the government or "socialists" had anything to do with this tragedy. But, if it makes you "feel" better to go after other people, by all means take out your fears on them.


Mon, Dec 24, 2012 : 1:36 a.m.

Mike, How do you know the victim did not have a gun for personal protection? Or is that "purely speculation" on your part? To bad there wasn't a SWAT team available.


Mon, Dec 24, 2012 : 12:27 a.m.

That is purely speculation on your part. They would have had a fighting chance, one that controlling socialists would deny them.


Sun, Dec 23, 2012 : 11:46 p.m.

the guy broke in and fired shots at 3 AM. Even if the man or the woman in the home were gun owners, it's unlikely they would have been able to wake up, quickly locate/unlock (and load!) a gun in time to prevent this. Especially since there are children in the household and I doubt they want to keep guns lying around unsecured. Being a gun owner would not have helped anyone in this situation, and trying to say that it would is an insult to the man killed.


Sun, Dec 23, 2012 : 11:07 p.m.

Why can't the judge be held responsible for his lack of good judgement in denying the protective order?

Chase Ingersoll

Mon, Dec 24, 2012 : 2:25 a.m.

Judicial Immunity. Legislators protect the judges and courts likewise grant Legislators immunity for whatever they say and do.


Mon, Dec 24, 2012 : 12:38 a.m.

The good judge was probably worried about violating Darrell Wilson's civil rights.

Milton Shift

Sun, Dec 23, 2012 : 5:35 p.m.

How tragic... I can't imagine what his girlfriend is going through right now. Awful.


Sun, Dec 23, 2012 : 5:26 p.m.

What a horrific story. My thoughts go out to his family and girlfriend.


Sun, Dec 23, 2012 : 5:23 p.m.

This is one time when the justice system failed. He received death threats..that wasn't enough to warrant a protective order? So sad..May he rest in peace

Robert Granville

Sun, Dec 23, 2012 : 5:12 p.m.

In hindsight, one must wonder why the protection order was denied?


Mon, Dec 24, 2012 : 4:10 a.m.

Probably because the ex husband had not done "anything" that the judge felt would justify issuing a PPO. This happened a little over 11 years to my cousin with a similar result. Prayers to the family and friends of the victims in this case.


Sun, Dec 23, 2012 : 11:43 p.m.

And how effective it would have been.


Sun, Dec 23, 2012 : 4:28 p.m.

So very sad. RIP