An Illinois pastor used the Bible he was reading from to shield himself from bullets being pumped at him from an unknown gunman who opened fire during Sunday services at the First Baptist Church in Maryville, Ill.
Senior Pastor Fred Winters was preaching during the 8:15 a.m. service when a man entered the church, walked down the aisle and started shooting, a parishioner told FOX News. Four others were also reportedly shot.
The .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol then jammed and the suspect started stabbing himself with a knife, Ralph Timmins of the Illinois State Police told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Timmins said the gunman slashed two parishioners when they tried to subdue him.
The suspect is in serious condition and is heading to the operating room, according to Saint Louis University Hospital.
Winters was shot three times, police said. He was pronounced dead on arrival at Anderson Hospital, a spokeswoman told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Five other people were taken to local hospitals.
Police said there were about 150 people in the church at the time of the shooting.
Linda Cunningham was sitting near the back of the church when the gunman walked up the aisle. She told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch she figured the man was confused about what time the service started because of daylight savings time.
Cunningham told the Post-Dispatch she, as well as others, didn't recognize the gunman.
Some parishioners believe the gunman used church bulletins to conceal his weapon.
"All you could see was confetti" Cunningham told the Post-Dispatch.