Crying baby causes fistfight in Upper Darby church

Neither man knew the woman or the crying child.

A man was trying to build his résumé for heaven when all hell broke loose.

During the 4 p.m. service on Oct. 20 at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Drexel Hill, a man in his 40s sat near a woman with an upset baby, according to Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood.

Matthew von Siegel, 36, of Clifton Heights, who sat behind the woman, started hollering at her to quiet down the baby. “We’re in church,” he allegedly said.

“The [victim] overhears it and he turns around and says, ‘You know, you don’t have to talk to her like that. It’s a baby,’” Chitwood said.

Neither man knew the woman with the baby, Chitwood said.

Von Siegel didn’t talk back. He just stared at the middle-aged man with a dirty look.

“The [victim] feels uncomfortable,” Chitwood said, “so he gets up and walks to the back of the church because he figures, ‘I’ll stand back there and won’t say nothing and won’t get into any confrontation.’”

Apparently during the consecration of bread and wine, von Siegel got up and walked toward the back of the church.

The victim thought von Siegel was leaving, so he held open an exit door. As he held the door, he allegedly asked, “What’s your problem?”

“And with that,” Chitwood said, “[von Siegel] coldcocks him.”

Parishioners jumped into the melee and broke it up.

After a two-week investigation, a warrant was issued for von Siegel’s arrest. He turned himself in to authorities on Friday.

“The church is no longer a place to pray,” Chitwood said. “Who would think you go into church to pray and worship, and you wind up in a fistfight in the back of the church.”

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