SBTS graduate shot and killed in morning worship service

Communications Staff — March 8, 2009

A gunman shot and killed a doctor of ministry graduate from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary during a morning worship service at First Baptist Church of Maryville, Ill., early Sunday morning.

Fred Winters, FBC’s senior pastor, was killed by the gunman shortly after 8:15 a.m. in the St. Louis area church, a New York Times article reported.

The state police said the gunman spoke briefly with Winters, before pulling out a .45-caliber handgun and fatally shooting him four times before the gun jammed, The Associated Press reported.

The man, whose name the police would not release, then pulled out a knife and stabbed himself. He was reported to be in serious condition at a St. Louis hospital, the Times article reported. Winters received a doctor of ministry from Southern Seminary in May of 2002. He entered the program in the summer of 2000.

Chuck Lawless, dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Church Growth at Southern, expressed his care and concern to Winters’ family.

‘Fred Winters was already a seasoned pastor when he entered the Doctor of Ministry program at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary,’ Lawless said. ‘Still he wanted to continue learning, growing and pushing himself to be the best pastor he could be. That kind of leadership will be missed. We are praying for his family and his church.’

Winters studied under LifeWay Christian Resources President Thom Rainer at Southern. Rainer, who served as dean of Southern’s Billy Graham School at the time, expressed his shock at the incident and also extended his concern to Winters’ family.

‘My heart breaks for Fred’s family, and I am already praying for them in this time of shock and grief,’ he said. ‘We also pray for First Baptist Church of Maryville. They have lost a great pastor and a dear friend.’

Winters began serving as senior pastor of First Baptist in 1987. Winters is survived by his wife, Cindy Lee, and two children: Alysia Grace and Cassidy Hope.

The New York Times article may be accessed at

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