Police are now releasing details in the shooting death of 27-year-old Robert E. Braxton III who died inside the Keystone Fellowship Church of Montgomeryville, Pennsylvania last Sunday over a dispute involving seats that were “reserved” with Bibles.
Witnesses tell 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. According to documents, the argument escalated when 46 year old Mart T. Storms approached once the situation had been resolved and fired two shots, killing Braxton immediately.
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 states 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 f*** 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. Storms has now been charged with voluntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment charges.
REAL STORY: While so many “conservatives” are busy losing their minds over who’s in the bathroom stall next to them, can the rest of us have an important discussion about what it will take to keep “responsible” gun owners from living out their fantasies of finally getting to squeeze their triggers? This is not a post about religion, it’s a post to highlight yet another completely senseless gun related homicide. Without a gun strapped to his hip, what would Storms have done – slapped the man to death with a the church bulletin? Do we really need metal detectors in churches now? (A few already exist.)
SERIOUS QUESTIONS: How do we separate the “responsible” gun owners from the irresponsible ones? People keep claiming that the shooter wasn’t a “responsible” gun owner. Wasn’t he was considered “responsible” when he purchased the gun? Wasn’t he considered “responsible” when he obtained his concealed-carry permit? Wasn’t he counted in the ranks of the millions of “responsible gun owners” right up until the moment he pulled the trigger, in church, over a verbal dispute he wasn’t even part of that had already been resolved? At what point does the gun lobby conveniently disassociate with this shooter, no longer claiming him as one of their own? Is there any way to stop equipping the hot-headed badass-wannabees of the world with the tools needed to fulfill their trigger happy dreams without stepping on the rights of the “responsible” gun owners?
Before the gun lobby strings me up for merely mentioning that a gun was used in yet another homicide – don’t waste your breath. I’ve owned several guns my entire life and none of the cliche’ dismissive lines of distraction work on me anymore. I just can’t imagine brandishing a firearm over a verbal argument about reserved seats in church. Or, who knows? If I had a gun in my waistband when a shouting match started and my adrenaline started pumping – anything is possible when you’ve got the gun, right?