Police: US pastor deflected gunshot with Bible

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March 9, 2009 00:57

 
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A pastor shot and killed during his Sunday sermon deflected the first of the gunman's four rounds with a Bible, spraying a confetti of paper into the air during a horrifying scene that congregants initially thought was a skit, police said. The gunman strode down the aisle of the sprawling First Baptist Church shortly after 8 a.m. and briefly spoke with The Rev. Fred Winters before pulling out a .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol and shooting at the pastor, Illinois State Police Director Larry Trent said. "We thought it was part of a drama skit ... when he shot, what you saw was confetti," said congregant Linda Cunningham, whose husband is a minister of adult education at the church. "We just sat there waiting for what comes next, not realizing that he had wounded the pastor." The weapon jammed before the man could fire again, Trent said. The attacker then pulled out a four-inch (10-centimeter) knife, stabbing himself and two men who tackled him, he said. Winters was pronounced dead at Anderson Hospital, hospital spokeswoman Natalie Head said.

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