In what will come across as a most shocking case of murder in recent times, a man has killed another man right inside the church over a trivial issue.
Mark Storms, a churchgoer has been charged with shooting dead a fellow church member during a Sunday service, after a row over seating.
Storms, 46, from Lansdale, Pennsylvania, is charged with voluntary manslaughter in the shooting at Keystone Fellowship Church in North Wales on April 24.
Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele says the victim, 27-year-old Robert Braxton, became disruptive during services before church members calmed him down.
According to NBC10, witnesses said Braxton arrived at church irritated and cursed at an usher in the back of the church.
A church member tapped Braxton on the shoulder to tell him the seats he was in were reserved. Another couple put down two Bibles to save their spots before walking away.
Braxton replied to the tap by saying: ‘Don’t f****** touch me!’ according to court documents.
Kevin Steele said Storms approached Braxton, showed his carry permit and asked him to leave. He added that Braxton punched Storms, who then fired two shots.
Steele said ‘it doesn’t make sense to bring a gun to church.’
The victim, Robert Braxton
Witnesses said churchgoers hid under pews as the incident occurred.
A female witness told police Braxton said ‘F*** you and your fake badge, get the f*** out of here’ to Storms.
Another male church member told police Storms revealed his gun and Braxton replied, ‘That’s not a real gun.’
Another remembered hearing Braxton ask Storms: ‘What are you going to do, shoot me?’ before punching him, court documents show.
In an interview with police Storms said he opened fire on Braxton because he felt his ‘person was in great danger’ and that he was worried about other people in the church.
After the shooting, Braxton was taken to Abington-Lansdale Hospital where he died.
An autopsy report showed a bullet hit him in the right side of his chest and right arm.
More than 50 witnesses were interviewed before charges were brought.
Storms remained in custody on $250,000 bail on Thursday.
He does not yet have a lawyer.