Update: Philadelphia Police said that Peter J. Ricioppo turned himself in Nov. 4 and was charged with conspiracy, aggravated assault, and related counts. He was released from custody after paying 10 percent of his $25,000 bail, according to court records. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Nov. 22.
Earlier story: An October barroom brawl in South Philadelphia left two men injured, with one clinging to life. Now, police are seeking a man who they say was among the attackers.
Investigators announced Friday that an arrest warrant had been issued for Peter J. Ricioppo, 31, for aggravated assault and conspiracy.
Although detectives say Ricioppo participated in a melee that left Frank Tarantella in a coma, they do not think he attacked Tarantella, according to department spokesperson Capt. Sekou Kinebrew.
Instead, Ricioppo is accused of assaulting a 32-year-old man whom police have not identified and who sustained minor injuries.
“Maybe he doesn’t know he’s wanted; we don’t want to assume one way or the other,” Kinebrew said. “But he is being sought by detectives.”
Ricioppo lives on Watts Street near Oregon Avenue, not far from the scene of the fight, according to police. Detectives have tried to reach him.
It remained unclear Friday what prompted the Oct. 11 brawl at Cookie’s Tavern at Alder Street and Oregon.
The unidentified victim told detectives that he was inside the tavern playing an arcade machine when someone approached him and struck him in the head, Kinebrew said. The fight spilled out into the street, where the man was attacked by at least two other people.
After the assault, investigators found Tarantella, 48, beaten and unconscious on a sidewalk.
The engineer had been drinking at Cookie’s with friends, according to Tarantella’s fiancée, Christine Lassiter. Because he sometimes stayed at a friend’s house, she said, she didn’t suspect anything was amiss until the next morning.
Tarantella has been in a coma since the incident, suffering from brain stem damage, internal bleeding, and a fractured skull, according to his family. Lassiter and her family have offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to arrests and convictions in the case.
“People know what happened,” Lassiter, 44, said last month. “They saw it. I know there’s people who know things who aren’t coming forward.”
Tipsters should call South Detectives at 215-686-3013 or the Citizens’ Crime Commission at 215-546-TIPS.
The son of the owner of Cookie’s Tavern was killed in 2017 alongside another teen during a neighborhood feud. The slayings shocked the city and led to simmering tensions for months in the family’s slice of South Philadelphia. The gunman, Brandon Olivieri, was found guilty and sentenced to 37 years to life in prison in July.