Pastor who criticized 'gun-free zones' shot woman in the head after she refused sex with him: report

Last week, Thomas Bruce posted, “We should stop expecting criminals to follow the rules. I’m hoping we end gun-free zones and put the criminals on notice that they will be stopped.”

Thomas Bruce

In Missouri, a former pastor who is known for his social media rants against gun control is facing charges of first-degree murder and kidnapping. Thomas Bruce is accused of holding three women against their will and killing one of them after she refused to perform sexual acts on him.

The horrifying incident occurred on Monday, November 19 in St. Louis County in a Catholic Supply store, where the 53-year-old Bruce allegedly forced three women into a back room at gunpoint and ordered them to perform sexual acts. When Jamie Schmidt, also 53, resisted, prosecutors allege, Bruce shot her in the head and killed her.

Following a two-day manhunt, Bruce was arrested in Imperial, Missouri the day before Thanksgiving on November 21. Ironically, Bruce had been railing against criminals in his social media posts

Last week, Bruce posted, “We should stop expecting criminals to follow the rules. I’m hoping we end gun-free zones and put the criminals on notice that they will be stopped.”

Bruce has a history of involvement with fundamentalist Christianity. Bruce studied at Calvary Chapel Bible College from 1992-2000—and in 2003, he founded an evangelical church called Calvary Chapel, where he served as a pastor. 

An avowed supporter of President Donald Trump, Bruce often forwarded tweets from right-wing commentators and attended the November 6 GOP rally in Cape Girardeau, Missouri—where Trump, Fox News’ Sean Hannity and AM talk radio host Rush Limbaugh appeared. 

Bruce, a veteran of the U.S. Navy, also addressed veterans’ issues on social media. Previously, the Missouri resident (who is facing 17 counts altogether) had no problems with the law apart from a traffic ticket.

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Alex Henderson is a news writer at AlterNet and veteran political journalist. His work has also appeared in Salon, Raw Story, Truthdig, National Memo, Philadelphia Weekly, Democratic Underground, L.A. Weekly, MintPress News and many other publications. Follow him on Twitter @alexvhenderson.