ST. LOUIS — A gunman remains on the loose after shooting a woman and sexually assaulting another at the Catholic Supply of St. Louis retail store in Ballwin, Missouri, on Monday afternoon. Ballwin is a suburb of St. Louis.
The woman killed was identified on Tuesday as Jamie Schmidt, who was from the nearby town of House Springs. Schmidt was a customer in the store at the time of the attack. She was shot in the head by the assailant and died after being transported to the hospital in critical condition. She was 53.
Schmidt is survived by her husband and three children.
In an emotional tribute posted on Facebook, her husband, Gregg Schmidt, remembered his wife’s singing voice and encouraged everyone to share feelings of love at every opportunity.
“Folks, I had my own Mother of Dragons, but she was taken from us today,” said Schmidt.
“I still don’t know how to feel yet. I do know one thing for sure. Hug your friends and family and tell them you love them every time you get the chance. I didn’t get to say goodbye, and that hurts pretty bad. She was my angel, my partner, my best friend and the love of my life. I’m sorry if you never got to hear her sing recently because it gave me chills. I probably won’t be on Facebook much for a while, but know that I love you all in some way or another,” said Schmidt.
The suspect is described as a white male, between the ages of 45 and 50, 5-foot-7, with a heavyset build. He is not believed to have known Schmidt, and police think the attack was random.
Catholic Supply of St. Louis released a statement saying that the owners and staff were “shocked and saddened” by the “senseless tragedy” that occurred at the chain’s West County location Nov. 19. They asked for prayers for the victims and their families.
Catholic Supply of St. Louis’ three locations were closed on Tuesday and will reopen Wednesday, said the statement.
“We are cooperating fully with the ongoing police investigation, and we will share details as appropriate. We appreciate your patience, grace and prayers during this difficult time.”
Archbishop Robert Carlson of St. Louis also weighed in with a statement, saying that the archdiocese’s faithful’s hearts went out to the victims of the “horrific tragedy” at the store.
“We join with civil authorities asking for the community’s assistance in apprehending the culprit of this crime,” said Archbishop Carlson in the statement released to Facebook.
He also instructed parishes throughout the archdiocese to offer prayers for those affected by the shooting and for an end to violence.
As a precaution, two area schools canceled classes on Tuesday due to security fears stemming from the shooting.