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Investigator: Pastor tried to flee gunman

Investigator: Pastor tried to flee gunman

The clergyman gunned down during his sermon at an Illinois church was trying to run from his attacker when he was shot through the heart, according to an investigator's affidavit filed Tuesday.
The account by Illinois State Police detective James Walker's account provides a clearer picture of the Rev. Fred Winters' final moments before he bled to death in front of horrified churchgoers at First Baptist Church in Maryville, Ill., a St. Louis suburb.
Terry Sedlacek, 27, of nearby Troy, was charged Monday with first-degree murder and aggravated battery in connection with the shooting of Winters and the knife wounds suffered by two congregants who wrestled him to the ground after the shooting.
Sedlacek remained in serious condition Tuesday in a St. Louis hospital with self-inflicted stab wounds to the throat, hospital officials said. One of the injured congregants was still hospitalized in fair condition.
Investigators said they still hadn't pinpointed why Sedlacek allegedly strolled into the church during its early service Sunday, carrying a .45-caliber Glock pistol and three magazines loaded with a total of 30 bullets.
According to Walker's affidavit, Sedlacek entered the sanctuary and walked down the aisle to the front of the church toward the pulpit, where Winters spoke to him.
Walker wrote that Sedlacek then fired at Winters. Investigators have said that bullet clipped the top of the Bible the preacher held, sending pieces of paper spraying like confetti. Many of the roughly 150 witnesses onlookers said it looked like a skit.
Winters, 45, then bolted toward the edge of the stage with Sedlacek running parallel to him, Walker wrote.
"Pastor Winters then jumped from the stage where he landed on the ground. Sedlacek then placed himself next to the pastor and fired multiple shots, striking Winters," Walker's affidavit read.
Investigators have said Sedlacek fired four rounds altogether, striking Walker only once, before his gun jammed.
Walker wrote that Sedlacek was trying to flee when he was subdued by two people from the congregation.
It was not yet clear if Sedlacek knew Winters, a married father of two who had led the First Baptist Church for nearly 22 years.
However, authorities have said Sedlacek appeared to have planned the attack, since he referred to Sunday as "death day" on a planner that was found in his home and he was carrying enough ammunition to kill 30 people.
Madison County State's Attorney William Mudge did not have any other details on the day planner entry.
"The only thing I can really comment on is he came armed with many rounds of ammunition and a knife, and I think we can surmise that more bloodshed may have occurred," Mudge said.
Sedlacek's attorney, Ron Slemer, told the Belleville News-Democrat on Monday that his client had deteriorated both mentally and physically since contracting Lyme disease.
Slemer did not immediately respond to numerous messages by The Associated Press seeking additional comment.
First Baptist Associate Pastor Mark Jones said one of the church's pastors visited with Sedlacek's family Monday.
"We actually pray for him," Jones said.
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On the Net:
http://www.fbmaryville.org/


Updated : 2021-06-15 05:04 GMT+08:00