BALLWIN, Mo. (AP) — Police in suburban St. Louis on Monday were searching Monday for a gunman who went into a religious supply store, sexually assaulted at least one woman and shot a woman in the head. Police said the shooting victim later died at a hospital.
The shooting happened about 3:15 p.m. at a Catholic Supply of St. Louis store in western St. Louis County, near the town of Ballwin. Police were looking for a man about 5-foot-7 with a heavy build, and said he should be considered armed and dangerous.
The gunman walked into the store and sexually assaulted at least one woman — police spokesman Shaun McGuire said he couldn’t confirm media reports that more than one woman was assaulted.
It wasn’t clear why the store was targeted and McGuire didn’t know if its religious affiliation was a factor.
McGuire said that the woman who died did not know the suspect.
“Obviously, that adds to the intensity of our search,” McGuire said.
The shooting happened at a strip mall in an affluent area of suburban St. Louis along Manchester Road, one of the most congested roadways in the region. McGuire said the heavy volume of traffic only made finding the suspect more difficult.
“Obviously someone could blend in pretty easily,” he said.
Catholic Supply of St. Louis Inc. operates three stores specializing in church supplies for parishes as well as Catholics. The company’s website says it also publishes national supply catalogs.
Ballwin is about 25 miles (40 kilometers) west of St. Louis.