A covered license plate motivated troopers to approach 18-year-old Anthony Allegrini’s sedan early Sunday morning while responding to an unsanctioned car meet that blocked I-95, Pennsylvania State Police leaders said.
Allegrini, police allege, did not stop driving his Black Audi S4, striking two officers before one opened fire, killing the Delaware County teenager.
Authorities offered few additional details about the shooting at a Monday afternoon news conference, refusing to answer many specific questions, citing incomplete information and an ongoing investigation.
PSP Captain Gerard McShea, commander of the Philadelphia-based Troop K, said the officers were the first law enforcement personnel who arrived at the meet. He described a chaotic scene, with cars performing stunts for thousands of onlookers.
Officers heading to the scene were informed of a report of gunfire in the area, along the highway near Penn’s Landing, authorities said.
The two troopers noticed the Audi with its license plate “completely obscured,” McShea said, and saw four people get into the car. They parked, positioning their vehicle in front of the Audi, and got out, he added.
One officer shot through the front windshield, and state police believe that only a single bullet was fired.
Neither officer has been publicly identified, and both have been placed on a 72-hour administrative leave. Once that period expires, they will return with limited duties until the probe concludes, McShea said.
Allegrini’s girlfriend, Reagan Hocking, has questioned PSP’s account of the events in interviews with multiple media outlets.
“The truth matters,” said District Attorney Larry Krasner, whose office is investigating the case. “We don’t know all the details yet.”
“Any legal consequence, if there is any legal consequence in civil court or in criminal court, will flow from what the truth is,” he added.
Krasner urged any witnesses and people with cellphone footage of the incident to come forward. PSP troopers have dash cameras on their vehicles but are not equipped with body-worn cameras.
‘We are not done’
Allegrini’s death followed a night and early morning of car meets – sometimes referred to as ‘sideshows’ – that shut down roads around the city, particularly in North and Northeast Philadelphia, police said.
Clips circulating on social media showed vehicles drifting and doing doughnuts, accompanied by fireworks and large crowds.
Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said the first major gathering occurred shortly after 1 a.m. when drivers took over the intersection of Bustleton and Philmont avenues in Somerton.
When city police officers arrived, people began throwing bricks and other objects at their patrol cars, she said. Not far away, at a gas station on Byberry Road, a Dodge Charger involved in drag racing backed into a police vehicle and fled the scene, according to Outlaw.
At Broad and York streets in North Philadelphia, officer vehicles were pelted with flower pots, shattering the windshield of one patrol car, Outlaw said. No police personnel were injured.
But later, at around 3 a.m., an allegedly intoxicated man attacked an officer on North Broad Street when police tried to stop him from driving away from a car meet, Outlaw said. He was apprehended – the only arrest of the night – and charged with assault, authorities said.
“If anyone was participating in this activity, do not think for one moment that you got away with it,” Outlaw said. “We are not done.” She added that investigators continue to comb through videos and other evidence.
The PPD did not have enough officers to handle the sideshows on Saturday night and early Sunday morning because investigators “didn’t have any intelligence that would indicate that these car meetups were going to happen,” Outlaw said.
Authorities believe that different groups were involved in the sideshows but that a few organizers were connected to multiple events.
Outlaw indicated that she wants to work with City Council on legislation to help curb dangerous car meets.
“This is something that we’re beginning to see here, but other parts of the country have experienced it a lot and they’re still trying to figure it out,” she said.