DA: Police officer tried to take own life at Montgomery County church

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Witness: ?Suicidal? man barricaded self in Montco church. Gray Hall reports during Action News at 4pm on August 30, 2017. (WPVI)

Officials revealed that it was a former Lower Providence police officer who tried to kill himself outside a church in Norristown on Wednesday.

District Attorney Kevin Steele said Thursday the officer is Charles Murray, who'd been fired from the department in June.

A priest at Saint Teresa of Avila Church spotted Murray sitting in his vehicle, with a hose attached to the exhaust pipe.

The priest was able to coax Murray into the church.

Authorities were called, and it was learned that Murray was wanted on felony theft charges.

"And other charges that stem from the theft of an M-16 patrol rifle and ammunition from a patrol car that had previously been assigned to Murray while he was an officer with the Lower Providence Police," said Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele.

Murray was taken into custody and no one was injured.

Heidi Reese, the administrative assistant to the pastor, described the situation to Action News on Wednesday.

"What I can share with you is that it was a troubled young man. He was suicidal. Father helped the young man, counseled him, and spoke with him, and the authorities were called and responded very appropriately and very thoroughly. The young man was taken into custody and is now getting the help he needs," Reese said.

"If you look for it, God's hand is in everything that happens, good, bad or indifferent. I am so proud to work Father Jerry Wild and that he was here and was able to help this young man. As with any church our focus is on the community and we want to be a safe place," Reese said.
Reese and church members say they are thankful the situation was resolved without anyone being hurt.

"We are grateful that this young man chose to come here, as strange as it may or may not sound. Father Wild has some specific training with challenging situations like this so it truly was God's hand that this occurred the way it did today," Reese said.

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