Shortly after services began at 8:15 am, a man (see updates on his identity, below) walked straight down the aisle of the Illinois church and shot the pastor to death, according to the state police. The killing took place in front of horrified members of the church, who then tackled the gunman. A Maryville police dispatcher told CNN the pastor was shot three times.
The victim was identified as Fred Winters, the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Maryville, who was shot and killed. The suspect then pulled out a knife and wounded himself. The attacker and at least two parishioners suffered knife wounds in the attack, Illinois state police spokesman Ralph Timmins told CNN affiliate KSDK.
St. Louis University Hospital spokeswoman Laura Keller told CNN three males, including the suspect, were brought to the hospital.
One was dead on arrival, she said, but the hospital was not releasing names and ages. The second was in an operating room and the third was the suspect, she said. The suspect's condition was not immediately available.
Some reports indicate five have been injured.
Maryville is about 10 miles east of St. Louis, Missouri.
A source close to the case confirmed late Sunday that the suspect is Terry Joe Sedlacek, 27, who was the subject of a St. Louis Post-Dispatch story in August 2008 about how Lyme disease had attacked his brain.
His home in the first block of Zachary Court in Troy, Ill., about three miles from the church, was searched late Sunday afternoon by police, who seized some gun cases and a computer. They would not comment.
Most of the media was keeping his id unidentified, however, as can be noted in the following example.
The Chicago Tribune on Monday, March 9, 2009, shares that...
...investigators found no immediate evidence of a criminal background for the suspect....Police were investigating whether a red Jeep parked outside the church belonged to the man.
The Jeep, which remained at the church Sunday night under State Police watch, was registered to the address of a 27-year-old man in an upscale neighborhood in Troy. No one answered the door at the residence Sunday. A woman from a neighboring home cried while hugging other neighbors in the cul-de-sac, but all declined comment.
A man of the same age whose mother's name also is registered at the Troy address was featured in a St. Louis Post-Dispatch article detailing his battle with Lyme disease. In the article, the man's mother said the disease left lesions on his brain and that doctors had diagnosed him as mentally ill before discovering the disease.
In the August 2008 article, the mother said her son was taking several medications and had difficulty speaking after contracting the tick-borne illness.
Police would not confirm that the man in the article was the church shooting suspect. The Associated Press is not naming the man because no one has been charged in the shooting.
A prosecutor says the 27-year-old man charged with gunning down a suburban St. Louis pastor in the middle of his sermon marked the day as "death day" in a planner.
Madison County State's Attorney William Mudge says investigators found the planner in the home of alleged gunman Terry J. Sedlacek (SEHD'-lack).
Mudge also says Sedlacek brought enough rounds of ammunition to First Baptist Church in Maryville on Sunday to kill 30 people. Investigators say four rounds were fired before the his gun jammed.
The Troy man is charged with first-degree murder and aggravated battery in the attack that killed the Rev. Fred Winters and left two congregants with stab wounds.