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August 31, 2017

D.A.: Former Montgomery County police officer stole M-16 rifle out of old patrol car

The ex-cop who surrendered to police Wednesday morning outside a Montgomery County church had stolen an M-16 rifle out of his old patrol car, the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office said Thursday.

As a former officer with Lower Providence Police Department, Charles Murray had used the patrol car that he broke into through the back windshield around 6:45 a.m. Tuesday, authorities said.

Officials allege that Murray, 37, of Lower Providence, stole the rifle and ammunition from the car. In an affidavit, authorities say Murray knew the access code to remove the rifle from the back of the car.

District Attorney Kevin Steele identified Murray as the officer who surrendered without incident Wednesday morning outside of St. Teresa of Avila Church in West Norriton.

Steele said Thursday that a Lower Providence detective had asked Murray to come to the police station to discuss an "important matter," but he refused and quickly left his apartment.

On Wednesday morning, Murray parked his car at the church and apparently attempted suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning, Steele said. A priest allegedly saw Murray in the car, talked him out of the attempt and invited Murray to talk inside the church.

After police were called to the church and gathered outside for about an hour, Murray surrendered around 10 a.m., officials said.

Detectives found the M-16 and ammunition under the Collegeville Bridge, Steele said.

Murray is a former U.S. Marine and served on the beat with Lower Providence police for 10 years, according to the affidavit. Police say Murray was fired on June 2.

An arraignment was pending Thursday before Magisterial District Judge Cathleen Rebar.