Pizzeria Owner Gunned Down in Chicago Suburb of Cicero

The violence of Chicago has extended to the nearby city of Cicero after news that the owner of a pizzeria died after helping his wife escape from a robber holding her at gunpoint. Giovanni Donancricchia, 64, passed away early Thursday morning after being shot in the chest inside his restaurant, Albano’s Pizzeria.

According to reports, Donancricchia had been working in his restaurant’s cooler when he observed someone enter through an open door. Upon discovering that the intruder was holding a gun to his wife’s head and demanding money from the cash register, he physically confronted the man, allowing his wife to escape from the restaurant. After initially following her, Donancricchia returned to confront the intruder again and was fatally shot.

This Saturday, Matthew A. Brown-Turner of Buffalo, NY, formerly of the Austin neighborhood of Chicago, was charged with murder and attempted armed robbery and ordered held without bail. Brown-Turner, 25, apparently was turned in after having remarked that he was involved with the shooting after watching a broadcast of the event on TV. Brown-Turner has several prior arrests on the west side of Chicago.

Cicero police, who held a vigil at the restaurant Friday evening, are being commended for their quick work in apprehending the suspect.

Already there has been an outpouring of support for Donancricchia’s heroic actions in shielding his wife. Many of the crime-weary Chicago area expressed frustration with the seeming inability to address any meaningful crime reduction by Mayor Bloomberg or those in leadership in the nearby areas.

Restaurant review website Yelp featured several comments from community members with condolences for the family and admiration for Donancricchia’s actions. One reviewer wrote:

My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Giovanni Donancricchia, the owner of Albano's. It's really a shame to see him go that way after how much he's served the community. I hope they find his killer soon.

Another said:

Your father was a hero. God bless him. I can't imagine the nightmare your parents endured during the robbery. I hope the armed gunman suffers every last day of his sorry life in Cook County jail with the rest of the animals.

The remembrances flooded the Albano’s Facebook site as well:

My heart is broken for the Donancricchia family. John was a man with a golden heart. He did so much for all his employees without even expecting anything in return. He did so much to make his family to have a better life he didn't deserve this.

Donancricchia’s son Saverio posted details about the upcoming funeral Wednesday, June 26, on the restaurant’s Facebook page; he also said that the restaurant will reopen on June 28. 

Photo credit: Albano's Pizzeria/Facebook


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