Robert Braxton III’s life tragically ended after a disagreement during a Sunday service at the Keystone Fellowship Church turned violent.
The incident began when another church attendant approached Braxton about sitting in reserved seats for two members who had yet to arrive, according to district attorney Kevin Steele. After a member tapped him on his shoulder, he began to yell, “don’t f***ing touch me,” according to documents obtained by NBC Philadelphia. He soon quieted down after talking with a pastor and usher.
But the situation soon caused a panic after churchgoer, Mark Storms, approached Braxton, waving a gun in his hand and told him to leave the service. While confronting Braxton, he also revealed a Concealed Weapons permit badge, which authorities believe was improperly obtained.
“F*** you and your fake badge, get the f*** out of here,” witnesses recalled Braxton telling Storms. “What are you going to do, shoot me?” Braxton asked before punching Storms.
The gunman then opened fire, hitting Braxton in the chest and in his right arm. Braxton was soon rushed to the Abington-Landsdale Hospital in Pennsylvania, where he was pronounced dead after suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. Storms was arrested and charged for voluntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment.
During his arraignment Storms told officials that he hoped to defuse the situation by showing a gun. However district attorney Steele and others are not accepting his defense, saying he had no reason to bring a loaded gun into a crowded church.
“You don’t go to church to be killed, you just don’t do that. He’s a young man. He had his whole life ahead of him,” Diana Walters, Braxton’s aunt, told WPVI. The Keystone Fellowship also expressed their condolences, holding a special service to mourn Braxton’s death.
Storms’ bail is set at $250,000.