Man killed in North Wales, Montgomery County church shooting ID'd

Monday, April 25, 2016
VIDEO: Investigation continues into deadly church shooting
A man was shot to death during Sunday service, and another church member was questioned by police.

NORTH WALES, Pa. (WPVI) -- Montgomery County officials are investigating after a deadly shooting during a church service in North Wales.

During a press conference, Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele identified the victim as 27-year-old Robert Braxton III of Montgomeryville.

Steele said the person who fired the shot that killed Braxton is being interviewed and is cooperating with the investigation.

Steele said, at this time, that person has not been arrested or charged.

PHOTOS: Deadly shooting at North Wales church

The incident happened at 11 a.m. Sunday at Keystone Fellowship Church on the 400 block of Stump Road.

On Facebook, the church confirmed the shooting.

"We at Keystone are saddened to confirm that a shooting took place at our Montgomeryville campus this morning. One man was shot and another is being questioned by police; no one was else was hurt. Police and medical personnel were called immediately. Police are investigating and we will release further information as soon as it becomes available. Our congregation is in prayer for everyone involved," the message read.

Church member Breeana Somers says gunfire erupted as the congregation stopped singing.

"We were worshiping and you hear three different gunshots," said Somers. "Everybody went on the floor and was hiding."

Initial reports came into police around 11:23 a.m. of shots fired.

"First thing went through my mind, I'm a single mom, I have a 6-year-old, so I was kind of upset not knowing whether I was going to be able to see her," said Somers.

Steele said a disturbance that escalated to an altercation occurred between the victim and the gunman.

Chopper 6 over the scene of a shooting at Montgomery County church.

"There was a disturbance. It escalated into an altercation between two church members," said Steele.

Steele says that led one church member to shoot Braxton at least once in the chest. He wouldn't identify the gunman, but says he is licensed to carry a concealed weapon.

"The investigating is ongoing. We're going to have to determine whether the shooting was justified under the law," said Steele.

Steele wouldn't elaborate on how the shooting could be justified. He says he doesn't believe Braxton was armed.

Braxton was taken to Abington-Lansdale Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 12:11 p.m.

The gunman was also injured, Steele said. He was treated and released from the hospital.

Hours after the shooting, church members gathered near the church to pray.

Braxton's aunt tells Action News her nephew was full of life and laughter. And she can't understand how this could have happened.

"You don't go to church to be killed. You just don't do that," said Diana Walters, Braxton's aunt. "He's a young man. He had his whole life ahead of him."

Braxton's father is a longtime member of the church, and plays the bass guitar during service.

"He was everything to my sister and brother-in-law and to the family," said Walters.

An autopsy is scheduled for Monday.

Montgomery County detectives are working alongside Montgomery Township police on the investigation.