March 9th, 2009 16:18 EST
Crazed Attacker Guns Down Pastor In Church
Early on Sunday morning, the Illinois State Police were dispatched to apprehend a man that had fired upon several parishioners and a pastor in Maryville, approximately 20 miles northeast of St. Louis.
The incident occurred shortly after the 8:15 A.M. Mass began at the First Baptist Church, when a man calmly walked down the aisle and exchanged some words with the Church`s pastor, Fred Winters.
According to churchgoers, the man pulled out a gun and shot the minister three times before discharging a few rounds at the 150 in attendance. But as he turned the gun on himself, his .45 jammed so he proceeded to take a knife from his pocket and began to stab himself.
Several courageous onlookers tried to detain the attacker, to no success however. Luckily State Police arrived in time to arrest him before he could do more harm to himself or others.
Fred Winters, First Baptist`s Senior Pastor, was pronounced dead from the three gunshot wounds to his chest while the six other victims involved were rushed to regional hospitals. All six are reportedly in stable condition.
The assailant, whose identity has been kept anonymous, is now hospitalized in St. Louis, Missouri and is in serious condition for self-inflicted stab wounds.
Illinois Master Trooper Ralph Thomas has corroborated the story that eyewitnesses stated to him when he first arrived on the scene. But he and the other officers are still uncertain over whether or not the pastor knew his killer.