ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO- The religious store in West St. Louis County that was the scene of horrible violence last month reopens Wednesday. Catholic Supply has been closed for more than 2 weeks after women were sexually assaulted and one customer was murdered.
Archbishop Robert Carlson blessed the store, “We want to disperse the evil so we can continue to live in peace in our community.”
Evil walked in the Catholic Supply store on November 19th. 53-year-old Thomas Bruce has been charged with 17 counts including sexually assaulting women and killing 53-year-old Jamie Schmidt, a store customer, and mother of three.
Tuesday morning Jamie’s family members, police detectives who helped solve the case as well as survivors, friends, and clergy gathered for the prayer service inside Catholic Supply.
Archbishop Robert Carlson said as a spiritual leader it was important for him to be there. He said, “They were still powerfully affected by this. It was a privilege for me to pray with them and ask God to help them and also pray for an end to violence in our community.”
Reverend Byron Watson said, “That was the message I prayed this morning that we were not going to let evil win.”
Reverend Watson was a cop for 35 years, he retired and returned to the St. Louis County Police Department as one of 32 volunteer chaplains. He was at Catholic Supply Tuesday morning. He reminded everyone that Jamie’s family wants people not to focus on the suspect but instead remember Jamie and her goodness. Reverend Watson added, “Let’s focus on the Jamie who left us her memories and her strength and courage that was displayed in a moment at a time when this person confronted her.”
Reverend Watson said the store owner had considered closing but he got so much support from the community he’s reopening the store.
Reverend Watson said there’s much more good than bad in our world.