Customers cried when learning that Giovanni Donancricchia died while protecting his wife from an armed robber. Nesita Kwan reports.
A Cicero pizzeria owner was shot and killed early Thursday morning while protecting his wife from an armed robber.
Giovanni Donancricchia, 64, and his wife, Angela were closing Albano's, in the 5900 block of West Roosevelt Road, in Cicero, when someone walked in through a backdoor and put a gun to the woman's head.
"My father came from the back and got her out of the situation, told her to get out of there and call the police and a minute or two later she heard a gunshot," explained the couple's son, Sal Donancricchia.
Angela Donancricchia went back inside and found her husband of more than 40 years lying on the floor. He was pronounced dead just before 1 a.m., a spokesperson from the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office said.
Donancricchia came to Chicago from Sicily in 1968 at the age of 19. He worked odd jobs -- at a pizzeria, as a garbage man -- until he had enough money to buy a pizzeria of his own. He had always wanted to start a restaurant, even in Sicily, his son said, adding that he was one of three children. The couple also have six grandchildren, he said.
The news came as a shock to customers who stopped by on Thursday.
"He's the best person I've ever worked for," said Wallace Harrington. "[He was] generous, always flexible."
The pizzeria boasted that it'd been ranked by the Travel Channel as one of top 101 places to chow down.
"Mr. Donancricchia was a well-liked person in the community and we share with his family the grief they must be experiencing today," Cicero town spokesman Ray Hanania said in a statement.