Auricchio, an off-duty police officer from Woodbridge, N.J., and a decorated veteran of the war in Iraq, was wearing a Rangers jersey the night of the game. In a video captured on a bystander's cellphone, he can be seen extending his arms as if trying to make peace before sustaining a series of punches that continued after he was knocked to the sidewalk.
At a news conference Friday, Capt. Laurence Nodiff, commander of South Detectives, said Veteri apparently threw the first punch after "words were exchanged." He said Auricchio and a friend, both wearing Rangers team shirts, had made the pilgrimage to Geno's "to enjoy some South Philly cheesesteaks" after New York beat Philadelphia at Citizens Bank Park.
Nodiff said the scuffle turned into a "brutal, vicious beating."
"Reviewing video and witness accounts," he said, "the instigator was clearly Veteri."
Veteri has been charged with two counts each of aggravated assault, conspiracy, simple assault, and reckless endangerment.
Police are pursuing two other suspects described as Veteri's "associates," but Nodiff said no further warrants had been issued as of Friday.
The fight left Auricchio bloodied and suffering from a concussion. He sustained injuries to his eye, lacerations, and severe facial damage that will require reconstructive surgery, Nodiff said.
Contact staff writer Melissa Dribben at 215 854 2590 or email@example.com.