A man boasted on Facebook that he and his friends beat up two Rangers fans outside a Philadelphia cheesesteak hotspot following Monday’s NHL Winter Classic.
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Police have released video footage online in the hope of catching the group of Flyers fans, but a man named Edward Neary appeared Wednesday to admit his participation in the attack.
Neary wrote on Facebook, "it was me and my friends do something about it," and then used a homophobic slur. His Facebook page, which has since been deleted, said that Neary graduated from high school in 2009.
Neary later blamed the incident on his friends, identifying three by name, and claiming the Rangers fans instigated the fight.
He made the claim on a Facebook page for Flyers fans called Broad Street Hockey. The operator of the page had posted video of the fight in an effort to help police identify the attackers.
Three suspects wearing Flyers jerseys are seen in the video repeatedly punching the two men in Rangers jerseys outside Geno’s Steaks in the south of the city. Officials said the attack occurred around 7:15 p.m. local time.
One of the victims, later revealed to be off-duty Woodbridge, N.J., police officer Neal Auricchio Jr., was hospitalized with a concussion following the attack, his father told the New York Post.
"He’s in pretty tough shape," Neal Auricchio Sr. said. "He got beat up pretty bad."
He said his son, a former US Marine who served two tours and earned a Purple Heart, had driven down to Philadelphia with a friend to watch the outdoor Winter Classic between the two rivals.
Neal Auricchio Sr. said his son told him a pack of Flyers fans began talking trash and then jumped him.
The father pleaded with the attackers to turn themselves in.
"You did the wrong thing, now do the right thing and take your punishment," he said.