- Associated Press - Saturday, June 6, 2015

ALTOONA, Pa. (AP) - Authorities have filed charges against a man in the discharge of a gun in a Pennsylvania cathedral during a crowded Easter vigil Mass two months ago.

Matthew Crawford, 20, of Altoona has been charged in Blair County with recklessly endangering another person, disorderly conduct and discharging a firearm within city limits.

Crawford, who was grazed by the bullet, had a permit for the weapon and said the gun discharged accidentally in the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament on April 4.

But authorities said in a criminal complaint that the weapon wasn’t in a holster, its four safeties weren’t on, there was a bullet in the chamber and a drop test indicated the gun couldn’t have discharged accidentally.

After the gun went off, the bishop of the Altoona-Johnstown diocese said he wanted to discourage people from carrying weapons into churches.

“Guns have no place in our cathedral or any of the other parishes in our diocese,” Bishop Mark Bartchak said. “(Churches) must be an environment in which all feel safe.”

Attorney Steven Passarello told The (Altoona) Mirror that the charges were expected and his client will likely seek dismissal of the reckless endangerment charge during a July 1 preliminary hearing because the count deals with intentional conduct.

“One of our arguments will be that the Commonwealth has not met their burden of proving that his conduct rises to the level of ‘recklessness’ under the statute,” Passarello said.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide