Man kills ex-wife, self in Mo. mall

Thursday, July 17, 2008

FLORISSANT, Mo. -- A man shot and killed his ex-wife inside a suburban St. Louis mall Wednesday before killing himself, police said.

The shooting happened early Wednesday afternoon inside Jamestown Mall, said St. Louis County police spokeswoman Tracy Panus. No one else was hurt, but the mall was evacuated.

Panus said the motive for the shooting just outside of a Sears store was not immediately known. Names of the dead have not been released, but Panus said the couple had been married more than 20 years before recently divorcing. They have grown children. He was 49, she was 47, and both lived in Hazelwood, Mo.

Calls to Sears and several other stores in that area of the mall were either unanswered or not returned. A woman answering phones in the mall office declined to comment.

Marcus Gwynn, 21, who works at Radio Shack, said he was walking into the mall to begin his shift when he heard four shots.

"I seen a lady on the ground face-down, then he sits on the ground and shot himself in the head," said Gwynn, who described both as black and in their mid-40s.

Deborah and Michael Mingo said they were shopping at Sears when they heard several shots. She asked a clerk about the noise and was told it was likely construction. But a short time later, people in the store were telling them to get out, Deborah Mingo said.

St. Louis County police Detective Mike Williams inspected a gray Ford Focus -- the female victim's car -- on the lot outside the Sears store. Two of the tires were deflated, leading Williams to believe the shooter did not want the woman to flee.

Earlier, a distraught man told two reporters he and the victims were cousins. But police later said the victims were a recently divorced couple.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, citing court records, reported that the female victim recently sought an order of protection against her ex-husband. A judge granted an ex parte order on July 8 and set an adult abuse hearing for July 25.

It wasn't immediately clear when the mall would reopen. Police tape was wrapped around the food court entrance, which was near the scene of the shooting. A cinema in the mall was also closed -- people who were watching afternoon matinees were told to leave.

Jamestown Mall is in far northern St. Louis County and includes about 60 stores and restaurants.

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