Mt. Washington man charged after attack in church

| May 25, 2010

Guards hired to provide security during services at a Mt. Oliver church wrestled a handgun away from a man who walked in Sunday morning threatening to shoot his mother, according to Pittsburgh police.

Witnesses told police that Robert Irvin, 23, of Mt. Washington, entered Potter's House Ministries on Cathedral Avenue and pulled a black handgun out of his jacket — later determined to be a BB gun — and said "I'm going to shoot her" as he walked toward his mother, who was seated in the front row.

Bishop Otis Carswell said Irvin's stepfather, who is a deacon at the church, approached the young man as he got closer to his mother and that Irvin struck his stepfather on the left ear with the weapon.

The deacon, whose name was not released, suffered a laceration but declined medical treatment. Irvin's mother also was not identified.

The guards were able to subdue Irvin and wrestle the gun away from him before any shots were fired, police said

Carswell said Irvin has been dealing with family issues.

Police took Irvin into custody without incident. He is charged with simple and aggravated assault, making terroristic threats and carrying a facsimile of a firearm. He is in the Allegheny County Jail on a $100,000 straight bond.

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Category: Church Security

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