Lehigh Valley

Divorce papers turn into police arrest in Bethlehem Township

BETHLEHEM TWP., Pa. - The nearly 10 hour Bethlehem Township police standoff started with divorce papers and ended with Christopher Baj arrested inside his home.

“Christoper Baj, this is the state police, we are going to ask you to come out of your house,” an officer shouted through a bullhorn. “We are going to need you to walk out the front door and down the sidewalk.”

When that didn't work, police used flash bangs and eventually busted down the door of Christopher Baj's home on Toursdale Drive in Bethlehem Township.

“I can see everything in front of the house, the truck pulled up on the grass with the battering ram,” said 18-year-old neighbor John Griffiths. 

Neighbors were told to stay in their basements until it was over. 

Baj, a Polish businessman with dual citizenship, eventually surrendered after a 10-hour standoff.

According to court paperwork, it all started Monday night when Baj's wife served him divorce papers.

Just after 2:30 a.m. Baj reportedly fired three shots into a bathroom where his wife had run to hide.

She escaped unharmed and hours later Baj released the couple's two young kids, who were also unharmed.

John Griffiths Sr., who saw snipers on his front lawn, says Baj would often come over for beer and cigars on his front porch.

It's that relationship police tried to use. Griffiths says he recorded messages played by police during the standoff as an effort to bring Baj back in the moment and away from the terrible things in the night.

“I said 'trust the policeman this doesn't have to end badly. You owe me a beer for going to Poland, we can smoke a cigar again,'” he said. 

Neighbors say Baj recently moved back to Poland, but he won't be going back anytime soon. He faces several charges including criminal attempted murder and endangering the welfare of a child.


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