Arrest made in Rangers' fans beating in Philly

Mugshot of Dennis Veteri from Philadelphia police. Veteri is charged with aggravated assault, conspiracy aggravated assault, simple assault and reckless endangerment in the beating of a Rangers fan on January 2, 2012.

January 13, 2012 2:11:06 PM PST
A Glassboro, New Jersey, man surrendered to face charges of beating two New York Rangers fans in Philadelphia, an attack caught on camera and posted online.

Police say 32-year-old Dennis Veteri is charged with aggravated assault, conspiracy aggravated assault, simple assault and reckless endangerment.

Police said Veteri threw the punch that turned a verbal dispute physical, then landed a blow that knocked out the victim.

Off-duty Woodbridge police officer Neal Auricchio, an Iraq war veteran, suffered a concussion in the attack and required stitches.

"This was a very, very vicious beating," said police Capt. Laurence Nodiff.

Veteri surrendered to detectives Thursday and posted $50,000 bail early Friday.

Detectives are still looking for other assailants in the January 2 beating that followed the Winter Classic hockey game.

Nodiff said Veteri and two other men were the clear aggressors after Rangers fans showed up at an intersection that features two of Philadelphia's iconic cheesesteak stands.

A video of the fight posted on YouTube shows a man police identified as Veteri whipping off his coat and throwing a punch, sparking a melee that ends with Woodbridge Township, N.J., police officer Neal Auricchio lying in the pavement after being punched.

"As we all saw on the video it is a vicious beating with the conclusion of a knock down punch which knocks the police officer unconscious," Nodiff said.

Investigators said Auricchio suffered serious facial injuries that will require reconstructive surgery.

Police said the video prompted tips that eventually led them to Veteri by way of a credit card receipt from another restaurant at the intersection that was paid just before the fight.

Online court records show Veteri has a history of arrests in Philadelphia, including a guilty plea following a 1998 aggravated assault arrest.

Veteri also has a prior criminal record of aggravated assault and drug possession in Florida.

Veteri is due back in court Jan. 31 for a preliminary arraignment. You can watch the video here:

CLICK HERE for more on the story from sister station WPVI in Philadelphia

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