Two teens were charged Wednesday and a third was in custody for questioning after more than 50 worshippers were robbed at gunpoint at an East St. Louis church.
Howard Dotson, 17, and Rufus Thomas, 19, both of East St. Louis, were each charged Wednesday with a count of obstructing justice, St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly said. Bond for each was set at $50,000, but both on Wednesday remained in the East St. Louis City Jail.
The Greater St. Louis Major Case Squad is expected to present additional information that may lead to more charges, Kelly said. He urged victims and the public to continue providing information, because the details developed so far have been helpful.
Major Case Squad commander Tom Coppotelli said three or four people who may have had some involvement in the case were interviewed. One remained in custody Wednesday and was being labeled a person of interest.
Three gunmen stopped worship at 5:30 p.m. Sunday at Ira Groves Freewill Baptist Church, 1701 Belmont in East St. Louis. One held a gun to the minister's head and they ordered the congregation to the floor as they took valuables from them including wedding rings, cell phones and wallets. Between 50 and 75 people were at the service, ranging from infants to the elderly.
Congregation members returned to the church Tuesday night and provided details about the robbery and what was taken from them. Coppotelli said police recovered some evidence.
Anyone with any information is asked to call the Major Case Squad at 825-5200.