Former pastor Thomas Bruce has been charged for a murder and sexual assault in a St Louis Catholic Supply store
Bruce forced three women into a back room in the store where he demanded sexual acts be performed
After one woman refused, Bruce shot her in the head before ordering the other women to continue
Bruce is currently held in jail with 17 counts, no bail and could be eligible for the death penalty if convicted
Following a disturbing sexual assault and murder at a Catholic Supply store in Ballwin — a suburb of St Louis, Missouri — on Monday, 53-year-old Thomas Bruce has been charged.
St Louis County authorities charged Bruce, a resident of Imperial, Missouri, on Wednesday night with 17 counts, including first-degree murder, sodomy and attempted sodomy, and kidnapping.
On Monday, Bruce is said to have retrieved a handgun after shopping in the store. According to the criminal complaint, Bruce forced three women into a back room in the store at gunpoint. Bruce then allegedly exposed himself to the women and ordered them to “perform deviant sexual acts on him.”
One of the women reportedly refused, at which point Bruce shot her in the head. Bruce allegedly went on to order the other women to continue performing sexual acts before fleeing the scene. Bruce was arrested on Wednesday morning. In all, he is charged with first-degree murder, three counts of sodomy, three counts of kidnapping, one count of burglary, one count of tampering with evidence and eight counts of armed criminal action.
Aside from filing for bankruptcy a few times, it appears Bruce has no criminal background in Missouri aside from a traffic ticket. Prosecutors are checking the national database, as Bruce moved around a lot before moving to Imperial a few months ago. However, he did live in St Louis County for roughly the past decade.
In 2003, Bruce founded the evangelical Christian church called Calvary Chapel. Over the years Bruce has been connected to ministries and churches across Missouri. KDSK reported that in 2003 he wrote an editorial for a Missouri newspaper opposing abortion. He signed the letter to the editor, “Tom Bruce, pastor, Calvary Chapel of Cape Girardeau.”
Bruce was in the Navy in the 80s and on social media posted about veteran issues. On social media, Bruce was openly against gun control. Just last week Bruce commented, “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.”
St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch said his office did not believe he targeted the store for religious reasons. McCulloch believes Bruce “saw an opportunity – three women in the store alone.” Bruce is in jail with no bond at this time and could be eligible for the death penalty.