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Pennsylvania church shooting: man dies in row over seating

Pennsylvania church shooting: man dies in row over seating

Mark T Storms, 46, above left, has been charged in connection with the fatal shooting in a Pennsylvania church of 27-year-old Robert E Braxton III following a row last Sunday over seats that were ‘reserved’ with Bibles.

According to an official report, released by Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R Steele and Montgomery Township Police Chief J Scott Bendig, charges of voluntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment have been brought against Storms relating to the shooting at the Keystone Fellowship Church.

A joint investigation by the Montgomery County Detectives, Montgomery Township Police and other law enforcement revealed that Braxton arrived at the 11 am service and was verbally disruptive and agitated. Church personnel attempted to quiet Braxton.

Storms, who has no official function with the church, approached Braxton after hearing the commotion, displayed a Concealed Weapons Permit badge and told Braxton he had to leave the sanctuary. Braxton then struck Storms in the face at which time Storms fired two shots from his Ruger 9mm semi-automatic handgun, which struck and killed Braxton.

Braxton was rushed to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Witnesses, according to this report, told the authorities that Braxton “became agitated” when told that the seats were being held for other parishioners, leading to an argument with ushers who asked him to leave the building. The argument escalated when  Storms approached after the situation had been resolved and fired two shots.

Eyewitness Connie Gibson told police that she was in the middle of the confrontation between Braxton and the ushers, offering to calm the situation by asking if she could sit with him. Once a pastor told the ushers to leave the man alone, Gibson states that Braxton had already calmed down and stopped yelling when Storms approached, brandishing his weapon, causing the victim to shout, “Is that a gun?” She stated that Braxton threw a punch at Storms as shots were fired.

Another witness, Michael Hendrie told police that he heard a commotion about 15 feet away as Braxton told the ushers “leave me alone. Leave me the fuck alone.”

According to Hendrie, an associate pastor was able to calm Braxton down before leaving the man by himself when Storms appeared, telling Braxton, “Let’s go outside, let’s go outside.”
Hendrie reported that Storms held something up and started patting the right side of his body showing the imprint of a handgun through his clothes at which point Hendrie told his family to get down. The next thing he heard sounded like a fist hitting flesh followed by two gunshots.

The Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office has stated that while he may have become agitated by an altercation with ushers, “Robert E Braxton III arrived at the service only armed with his Bible” and Storms acted without any legal authority, escalated the situation unnecessarily.

Hat tip: BarrieJohn

13 responses to “Pennsylvania church shooting: man dies in row over seating”

  1. L.Long says:

    Well I wish I could be sad about a religious gun-nut shooting another. This is what the rePUKEian religious right wants so I hope they like the results, a ‘good’ man shooting another ‘good’ man, because there aint no way a ‘good’ man with a gun will stop a bad guy with a gun!!!

  2. barriejohn says:

    Did they call the Keystone Cops?

  3. Broga says:

    So off Storms goes to church on Sunday armed with a Ruger 9mm semi-automatic handgun. Where does gentle Jesus figure in all this?

    In the USA there seem to be thousands of pathetic men strutting and armed with guns to boost their flaky confidence. When they are not killing wild animals they often kill humans. The National Rifle Association is determined to block any curbing of the availability of guns.

  4. SallyinMI says:

    Well, church membership has been declining in this country. When people start showing up armed at church, and more of these godly men kill just like Jesus commanded, I predict even more young families and the older retired people who are keeping the buildings open with their SS money, will stop going too. Maybe THEN the GOP will lose its fanatical grip on this country and we can begin to respect each other again. Unless it’s too late.

  5. Broga says:

    @SallyinMI : I read an article in “New Scientist” which described the basis on which religion developed and the speed at which it is now fading. Large parts of humanity are growing up. The tragedy is that religion stills shackles large parts of the remainder and keeps them infantile.

  6. Club Secretary says:

    SallyinMI says:
    Sun 1 May at 2:35 pm
    “When people start showing up armed at church”

    Maybe he thought he was he a Prayer Marshal?

  7. barriejohn says:

    Au contraire. I believe that publicity surrounding this tragedy will lead to a surge in church membership:

    http://freethinker.co.uk/2014/06/23/guns-for-the-godly-a-growing-us-trend/

    The brainchild of Heath Mooneyham, Ignite’s lead pastor, a raffle for two semi-automatic rifles made by Black Rain Ordnance in Neosho and described as the “Lamborghini of guns” was intended to attract a specific demographic group: males age 18 to 35, who don’t find churchgoing attractive.

  8. barriejohn says:

    How about this from last November?

    https://youtu.be/FIW6QzMRCF0

    “Pastors are waking up now” – if they’re not dead, that is.

  9. AgentCormac says:

    While out shopping yesterday I spotted one of those incredibly irritating street preachers who was holding aloft a sign which read ‘God is Love’. The wife gave me one of those ‘don’t you dare’ looks as I started heading towards him, intent on reminding about his invisible friend’s genocidal tendencies. God isn’t love. God is anger, hatred, pain and death. Especially at the end of a concealed semi-automatic weapon.

  10. Cali Ron says:

    Signs of the times. It used to be white guys burning down black churches, but now white racist just walk in and shoot black people. And now this, a guy so eager to use his “concealed weapon” he injects himself into an incident in a church that had nothing to do with him and guns down someone. Christians are dangerous enough armed with a bible, but when the seriously deluded christians have guns it’s a recipe for disaster,…and death.

  11. jkarov says:

    He should be charged with 2nd degree murder not manslaughter.

    The Perpetrator was not threatened, and was in no way involved, but HE CHOSE TO INSERT HIMSELF WITH A LOADED GUN into the situation.

    2nd degree murder.

  12. Laura Roberts says:

    Guns have become a religion of their own in America. People take on faith notions that are provably wrong, such as the idea that more guns make a situation safer, or that “the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun”.

    I’ve used guns before and I’ve studied karate. In both cases, I discovered to my dismay that simply being in the culture and practicing the craft on a regular basis made me eager to exercise my skills. To defend oneself against the (vanishingly small) possibility of a life-threatening attack, one must train consistently and maintain constant vigilance (as Mad-Eye Moody would say). I decided I wasn’t going to waste my entire life living like that.

    Whenever I read about an incident like this one, I think of my experience. It seems many Americans eagerly delude themselves into believing they can protect themselves and others better than trained professionals (a.k.a. police).

    I did think it was ironic that the GOP gun nuts were advocating for open carry at the GOP convention this summer. Talk about putting their bullets where their mouths are! I’ll be eager to see how they weasel their way out of that one.