Hospital gunman had sexual assault record

O'FALLON, Mo. | Police and others say Gary Sheets, who killed his ex-girlfriend at a medical clinic near St. Louis just days ago, had spent two years in prison for sexually assaulting a different girlfriend who had tried to break up with him.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Sunday that Sheets, 45, served prison time for sexually assaulting a St. Louis woman he had dated and moved with to Colorado in 1998.

Sheets, a former blackjack dealer, returned to Missouri after his release from prison in 2000. But because of his status as a sex offender, he could no longer work at a casino.

Last year he met Jenenne Meadows, an avid poker player, at a bar and the two hit it off.

On Friday, police say he killed Meadows after a standoff at St. John's Mercy Urgent Care Center in O'Fallon, where she was a lab technician.

Friends told the Post-Dispatch that Sheets moved in with Meadows, 47, in October 2007, but the relationship soon went sour and he moved out in May.

Authorities say Sheets entered the clinic late Friday afternoon carrying a handgun and ordered others inside to get out. They say he then went to the second floor, where he held Meadows captive in a locked room for about 90 minutes.

Her ex-husband, Ken Meadows, said Sheets let her call her oldest son, Kyle, 22, to say goodbye, but when he didn't answer, she called her next-oldest son, 21-year-old Anthony.

"She told Anthony what was going on," Ken Meadows said. "Then this guy Gary takes the phone over and got rather graphic as to what he was going to do and how he was going to deal with her."

Sheets shot Meadows and SWAT officers stormed in and fatally shot him.

Jeff Lesinski, a friend of Sheets, told the Post-Dispatch that Sheets and Meadows had exchanged hostile text messages for weeks before the shootings.

Lesinski said Sheets was frustrated with Meadows. Lesinski described Meadows as "pretty forceful and pretty strong-willed" and said she made it clear that she ran her own household.

The angry texting picked up about six weeks ago, Lesinski said. Sheets, who had taken a job with a salvage company, was having trouble finding work, the friend said.

Dana Miles, an ex-wife of Sheets, said she never saw Sheets as violent. She said he had an alcohol problem but "hated guns."

"I'm just shocked that it came to that," said Miles, who divorced Sheets in 1992.