Shuck and Jive

Monday, March 09, 2009

"He Died Doing What He Loved"

I didn't hear about this until tonight. A pastor of a church in Illinois was shot and killed during a church service. Congregants wrestled down the assailant and held him until police arrived. Two others were wounded. Here is the story in the Johnson City Press.

MARYVILLE, Ill. — A pastor shot and killed during his Sunday sermon deflected the first of the gunman’s four rounds with a Bible, sending a confetti-like spray of paper into the air in a horrifying scene that congregants initially thought was a skit, police said.

The gunman strode down the aisle of the sprawling First Baptist Church shortly after 8 a.m. and briefly spoke with The Rev. Fred Winters, then pulled out a .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol and began firing until it jammed, Illinois State Police Director Larry Trent said. Churchgoers wrestled the gunman to the ground as he waved a knife, slashing himself and two other people, Trent said.
CNN reported that the suspect has been charged. No motivation has yet been determined.

Speculation about mental illness due to Lyme Disease was reported here.

Others described the attacker, Terry Sedlacek, as an "odd bird."

It was apparently a premeditated event as "death day" was marked on his planner, according to this story.

I am sure we will find out more details in the days ahead. Meanwhile, we offer our deepest condolences to the family of Pastor Fred Winters and the people of his church and community and keep them, the attacker and his family in our prayers.

Church members say Pastor Winters died doing what he loved, "giving people inspiration and perspective."

People can donate to the Winters Family Memorial Fund by calling (618) 345-1000 or via care of Scott Credit Union, 1100 Beltline Road, Collinsville, 62234. Donations also are accepted for the First Baptist Church Maryville Building Fund at 7110 State Route 162.


  1. A terrible act of violence. My condolences to the pastor's family.

  2. A horrible and senseless loss to the community. If the suspect really did have a mental illness I wonder how things might have been different - IOW if perhaps he could have received better mental health care. The latest NAMI report card gave IL a D. Sadly most states got C or D ratings, and the US overall got a D; the state of mental health care is abysmal.

    Of course it's important to remember that most of the time people with mental illnesses aren't violent, and they're typically more at risk of being victims. But there are cases, and this might have been one of them, where proper treatment could have prevented a tragedy.