St. Louis man charged for beating pastor in head with baseball bat

Tony Webster/WIkimedia Commons
Tony Webster/WIkimedia Commons

A St. Louis, Missouri, man has been arrested and accused of beating a pastor in the head using a baseball bat and stealing his car last month.  

Thirty-four-year-old Gregory D. Seddens Jr. allegedly used a baseball bat to assault a pastor on Jan. 8, according to a St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department probable cause statement.

He has been charged with first-degree robbery, second-degree assault, first-degree property damage and two counts of armed criminal action and remains jailed without bond until trial, reports Fox 2.

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The incident occurred at the intersection of Lee Avenue and Peck Street in the Fairground neighborhood while the pastor sat in his car. The pastor's name has not been disclosed. 

Seddens reportedly used a bat to break open the pastor's car windows. The pastor exited his car, and Seddens proceeded to violently hit the pastor using the baseball bat in the legs and head. 

Following the assault, another person who was reportedly accompanying Seddens drove off in the pastor's vehicle, and Seddens got in another vehicle and drove off. 

The injured pastor was left lying in the street. The suspect was arrested in a stolen car in Kirkwood. It is not clear if that stolen car was the pastor's car. 

The pastor reported to police that he had known Seddens and once allowed Seddens to stay overnight at his home located in University City. The pastor said he filed a police report after realizing some of his household items had gone missing. He also confronted Seddens about the missing personal items.

Investigators believe that the alleged attack and theft could be a form of retaliation taken by Seddens over the police report, according to Fox 2. 

Seddens has a criminal past. CBS' St. Louis affiliate KMOV reports that he was wanted in Illinois for robbery and had been arrested in a stolen vehicle while having a gun in Kirkwood. 

Crimes like the one Seddens has been accused of are not isolated incidents in the St. Louis community areas where his alleged assault took place. 

According to FBI data released in September 2023 cited by AreaVibes, the crime rate in St. Louis increased 21% year-over-year, with a 28.5% increase in property crime. 

Late last month, another pastor, Mike Coleman of Carondelet Baptist Church in St. Louis, was held at gunpoint and carjacked by two teenage boys.

Coleman​​, known to join other men from his congregation to do maintenance work on his church building on most Fridays, nearly had his life end in tragedy on the evening of Jan. 27. 

Coleman told The Christian Post in an interview that two boys appeared and ran up to him from behind, placed a gun against his face and demanded he hand over his phone, wallet and car keys. 

Coleman said the entire incident was recorded on a surveillance camera installed outside the church. 

"When I watched the playback of the surveillance video, I realized there's a 20-second period where the two boys are in my car doing nothing and they told me to stay still. And I had those 20 seconds, and in that time, I forgot that I was a pastor and administrator and a good guy," Coleman said.  

The two boys were reportedly young and seemed inexperienced, and the pastor worried if he didn't help them figure out how to turn on the car, they might retaliate by hurting him.

"I had no choice," he recalled. "They opened the door and with the gun still pointed at me, they told me to come toward them and to show them how to start the car. They were so inexperienced. They didn't even know how to drive the car."   

"I think they took their driving lessons from a video game or something. And they seemed to have never been behind the wheel of a car before. It would have almost been comical if the gun wasn't pointed at me at the time that they were asking me to do that."

The two boys smashed Coleman's phone, stole his wallet and drove off with his van, which they crashed into two other parked cars in front of the church. 

Three days after the incident, a 13-year-old boy was taken into custody. The boy's mother reported him to authorities, and he was remanded to the juvenile courts, according to KMOV

Coleman said he decided to press charges against the two boys to hold them accountable. 

Valuing the Scripture that says, "pray for those who persecute you," Coleman told CP that he has prayed to God to not only help get the boys on the right track but also to help him to be able to forgive the boys. 

"The younger generation, I don't think they hear the Gospel enough. I don't think they hear about grace and mercy. I'm being criticized for prosecuting these kids because people are saying, 'There has to be forgiveness involved. And if you'll give them a chance to ask for forgiveness, then how can you do that?'" Coleman said. 

"The younger people need to be engaged and realize there's higher authority other than the city of St. Louis. There's the state of Missouri and the United States. They need to start acting and growing in grace and they're not getting that, and that's partially my fault for not opening the doors of my church wider."

Nicole Alcindor is a reporter for The Christian Post. 

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