A former pastor has been charged with murder after he allegedly kidnapped three women and forced two to perform sex acts on him. Thomas Bruce, 53, of Missouri, was charged with 17 crimes including first-degree murder, sodomy, kidnapping, burglary, and tampering with evidence on Wednesday following the incident on Monday, according to The St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He is being held without bail.
Bruce was once a pastor in Missouri and had a history of going on social media rants against “gun-free zones”. Just last week, for example, he called for abolishing gun-free zones on the grounds that “we should stop expecting criminals to follow the rules.”
This week, police say 53-year-old Thomas Bruce initially posed as a customer of a Catholic Supply store in Ballwin. When he saw that there were two female employees and one female customer in the store, Bruce told the employees he had forgotten his credit card and would come back.
When Bruce returned, he forced the three women to go with him into a back room at gunpoint. After they went with them, he ordered them to strip and “perform deviant sexual acts on him,” police allege.
One of the women, Jamie Schmidt refused to give in to his demands, and Bruce allegedly killed her with a shot to the head. This prompted the other two women to begin complying with his requests, and Bruce eventually fled the scene.
St. Louis County police searched Bruce’s trailer home at the Quail Run Estates mobile home park in the Antonia area of Jefferson County where they arrested him early Wednesday. An American flag and a Gadsden “Don’t Tread on Me” flag waved on a pole outside.
In January 2017, Bruce and his wife, Diane, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in St. Louis, listing assets of about $92,000 and debts of nearly $159,000.
The bankruptcy was discharged in April 2017. Wells Fargo Bank foreclosed on the couple’s home in August, records show.
It is not clear if Bruce has an attorney.