NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) — A member of a suburban church was charged Wednesday in the shooting death of another churchgoer in an altercation during Sunday services.
Mark Storms was charged with voluntary manslaughter in the shooting at Keystone Fellowship Church in North Wales, a little more than an hour's drive north of Philadelphia, Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said.
The shooting victim, Robert Braxton, became disruptive during services before church members calmed him down, Steele said. Witnesses told police Storms approached Braxton, showed him a gold badge and a gun in his waistband and asked him to leave. Braxton then punched Storms, who fired two shots, killing him, they said.
Storms told investigators he bought the badge after he was issued a permit to carry a concealed weapon, according to a police affidavit. He said he showed it to Braxton hoping to defuse the situation, the affidavit said.
Authorities had been investigating whether the shooting was in self-defense, but Steele said that wasn't a reasonable explanation.
"It is clear the shooter brought a gun to a crowded church, he introduced that gun into a verbal altercation that turned into a fistfight and then fired the gun twice aiming at the vital part of the body, killing the victim," Steele said. "It doesn't make sense to bring a gun to church."
More than 50 witnesses were interviewed before the charge was brought against Storms.
Storms on Thursday remained in custody on $250,000 bail. He does not yet have a lawyer. A public phone listing for Storms, who's from Lansdale, was disconnected.