A man, understood to be the pastor of the First Baptist Church in the US town of Maryville, Illinois, was shot dead on Sunday by an assailant, local media reports said.
The St Louis Post-Dispatch said the assailant walked into the Sunday service at the church and shot the Reverend Fred Winters, who died shortly afterwards at hospital.
The paper said the attacker, whose identity has not been released, was being treated in custody at a St. Louis hospital for self-inflicted stab wounds.
Members of the congregation went to the hospital, only to find out that Winters had died.
Carol Covinsky, 52, was quoted by the paper as saying, "We were going to stand in the parking lot and pray for him, but they came out and told us they lost him in there."
The police have said that they do not as yet know the reason for the attack.