St. Louis Public Radio News
Sun March 8, 2009
Pastor killed in Illinois church shooting
By Matt Sepic/Associated Press
Maryville, IL – The family of the 27-year-old man suspected of killing a Metro East minister Sunday said the young man suffered from mental illness brought on by Lyme disease.
Police did not release the suspect's name. But the Post-Dispatch identifies him as Terry Joe Sedlacek, of Troy, Illinois.
The paper profiled him in August for a story about the effects of Lyme disease.
Parishioners said the victim, Pastor Fred Winters, was smart and energetic, and helped the membership of the First Baptist Church grow by hundreds of people over the last 20 years.
There was a memorial service for Winters Sunday night at another church in Edwardsville.
Winters was standing on an elevated platform Sunday morning when the gunman walked down the aisle and the two exchanged words.
Illinois State Police Director Larry Trent said the suspect fired four shots. One hit the top of a bible, tearing it to shreds.
Trent said many of the 150 people in attendance couldn't believe what they saw.
"Some thought it was some type of skit, or some type of program at the time, which is really not uncommon in these types of shootings."
Trent said after the fourth shot, the weapon jammed and the alleged gunman pulled out a knife.
He said two parishioners tackled the suspect.
One parishioner was injured seriously, as was the suspect. The other was treated for cuts and released from a hospital.