Pennsylvania church shooting: Suspect in killing of man over pew seat charged with manslaughter

A handcuffed Mark Storms is led to court by a police officer in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. He faces charges of voluntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment after shooting a worshipper inside a church.(Screenshot/NBC Philadelphia)

A 46-year-old man who shot and killed a fellow worshipper in a church in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania last April 23 has been charged with manslaughter.

Mark Storms of Lansdale, Pennsylvania is facing charges of voluntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment in the death of 27-year-old churchgoer Robert Braxton III, NBC Philadelphia reports.

Braxton was shot during Sunday service at Keystone Fellowship Church in North Wales where hundreds of people were gathered.

Witnesses said Braxton arrived at the church angry and cursed at an usher in the back of the church. Staff members tried to quiet him but he refused and even sat at a pew reserved for other church members.

One church member tapped Braxton on the shoulder to tell him that the seats were reserved but was told by him, "Don't [expletive] touch me!"

Witnesses told the police that Storms walked over to Braxton and showed him his badge and motioned that he had a handgun under his shirt and that he had to vacate the seat. The badge was for concealed carry permit.

The two exchanged words before Braxton punched Storms in the jaw. Storms pulled out his gun and fired two shots.

Accounts of the shooting varied.

One church member said Storms showed his gun to which Braxton replied, "That's not a real gun."

Another said Braxton lunged at Storms before the shooting while a church member said Braxton asked Storms, "What are you going to do, shoot me?" before punching him.

Storms told the police that he shot Braxton as he felt his "person was in great danger" and that he was worried that other people in the church might get hurt.

He said he showed his badge to defuse the situation, recalling that he did it in the past and the man he accosted "walked away."

Braxton was rushed to the Abington-Lansdale Hospital where he died. Autopsy showed he was hit by a bullet in the chest and right arm.