January 03, 2017
Philadelphia police continue to investigate an alleged attack against an active U.S. Army serviceman after Sunday's Mummers Parade.
Austin Freni, 19, a South Jersey native, was beaten by a group of men as he left the parade festivities around 11:09 p.m. near Third Street and Oregon Avenue in South Philadelphia with his mother and girlfriend, police said.
About a dozen men allegedly began making derogatory remarks about the Army as Freni and his companions walked along the 400 block of Oregon Avenue, Freni told police. He was wearing an Army jacket, his family said. After a brief exchange of words, Freni was attacked and struck in the face.
Freni was transported to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Center City. As of Tuesday afternoon, Freni was listed in good condition, according to a hospital spokeswoman.
His mother, Lori Freni, told Fox29 that her son was being treated for severe facial injuries.
"Group of 10-15 guys walked by me (making) derogatory comments towards Austin's Army jacket."
"Me and his girlfriend tried pulling them off and they hit us. We got hit in the face. She got thrown in the street. He's got to get plates put in his jaw and his mouth will be wired shut for the next eight weeks."
Austin Freni grew up in Audubon, Camden County, and graduated this year from Hammonton High School. He was due to head back to base after the holidays, his mother said.