msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 2/11/2012 3:30:04 AM ET 2012-02-11T08:30:04

A fight broke out during a funeral at a Phoenix church after a friend of the departed punched a man who had reportedly been fighting with the deceased before he died.

Phoenix police said the fight broke out Friday afternoon at St. John's Institutional Baptist Church, when the unidentified friend recognized the other man and punched him "in honor of the fallen."

The Arizona Republic reported that many of the other people attending began fighting, but there were no injuries and no arrests when officers broke up the scuffle.

Phoenix TV station KSAZ said the fight involved up to 30 people.

'Dignity'
"I don't know ... everybody was just running and fighting and it was just crazy," a mourner told KSAZ.

"Sad that it has to be at a funeral. Real sad," another mourner said.

Neither the person who instigated the fight nor the man he punched was identified.

KSAZ said the funeral was for a 20-year-old man, Moses Taylor, who was killed last month after allegedly breaking into an apartment. The TV station said he was hit in the face with a clothes iron by a man who lived there.

Lt. Sean Connolly, of the Phoenix police, told the TV station that "funerals are emotional for people, and we understand that," but also said, "there is some dignity that needs to be had."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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