Catholic Supply store sexual assault, murder suspect appears in court

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CLAYTON, Mo. – The suspected gunman in the Catholic Supply store sexual assault and murder made his first court appearance Monday morning.

A St. Louis County judge apprised 53-year-old Thomas Bruce of the 17 charges against him in connection with the attack. Bruce told the judge he didn’t have a lawyer and would need a public defender. He’s due back in court December 5.

Prosecutors allege Bruce walked into the Catholic Supply on Manchester Road and ordered the three women inside to strip at gunpoint before sexually assaulting two of them and shooting the third victim.

The shooting victim, Jamie Schmidt, later died at an area hospital.

Investigators arrested Bruce, a former pastor, at his home in Imperial, Missouri following an extensive two-day manhunt.

Bruce is facing a laundry list of charges, including first-degree murder, three counts of sodomy, three counts of kidnapping, one count of burglary, one count of tampering with physical evidence, and eight counts of armed criminal action. He’s being held without bail.

Meanwhile, the family of Jamie Schmidt will be holding visitation to remember her life Monday afternoon.

As a mother of three, Schmidt was an active member of St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in High Ridge. Her family said she was a talented artist, beautiful singer, a caring mother, and a loving wife.

Her services will be held today from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Chapel Hill Mortuary in Cedar Hill with a mass to follow at 11 a.m. on Tuesday at St. Anthony Catholic Church in High Ridge.

The community can send condolences to the family here.

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