Gunman fatally shoots woman at Catholic store

BALLWIN, Mo. (AP) - Authorities say a woman killed inside a religious supply store in suburban St. Louis was a customer.

Police on Tuesday identified the victim as 53-year-old Jamie Schmidt of House Springs.

Police in suburban St. Louis were searching for the gunman who sexually assaulted at least one woman and shot Schmidt in the head. Police said she 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.

"Our hearts go out to the victims of this horrific tragedy at Catholic Supply," St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson said on Twitter.

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 west of St. Louis.

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