Man Charged in Death of Pizzeria Owner Held Without Bail

Giovanni Donancricchia, of Albano's, was shot while protecting his wife, their son said

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Customers cried when learning that Giovanni Donancricchia died while protecting his wife from an armed robber. Nesita Kwan reports.

    A 25-year-old man was charged Saturday in connection with the shooting death of a popular Cicero pizzeria owner, police said.

    Matthew Brown-Turner was charged with three count of murder and one count of attempted armed robbery and was denied bail in a Saturday hearing, officials said.

    Cicero police on Friday evening were questioning someone they were calling a "person of interest" in connection with the shooting.

    Cicero spokesman Ray Hanania said police were working with the Cook County State's Attorney's Office but said that no charges had been filed as of late Friday night.

    Giovanni Donancricchia, of Albano's Pizzeria, was shot and killed early Thursday morning while protecting his wife from an armed robber, their son told NBC Chicago.

    Donancricchia and his wife Angela were closing up shop around 12:30 a.m., but left the backdoor open so they could offer leftover food to the homeless, according to the Cook County State's Attorney's Office.

    Prosecutors allege Brown-Turner entered the pizza shop through the back door and approached Donancricchia's wife at the cash register, but Donancricchia interfered and shielded her so she could get away.

    According to prosecutors, Donancricchia pulled out a knife but was fatally shot in the chest.

    Brown-Turner has a criminal history that including two prior felony convictions from 2005 and 2009.

    He is scheduled to return to court Tuesday in Maywood.

    "Mr. Donancricchia is a true hero that he would do everything possible to protect someone he loved," Hanania said in a statement.

    His son, Saverio Donancricchia, said he wasn't surprised to hear his father put his mother's life first. The couple had been married for more than 40 years and "he was her life," Saverio Donancricchia said.

    "The first time I saw the picture of him moving my mom out of the way approaching the assailant, to be honest, there was no surprise," he said. "That's the kind of man my father was."

    The news came as a shock to customers who stopped by the pizzeria, on the 5900 block of West Roosevelt Road, 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.

    Services for father of three are set to begin with a wake from 3-9 p.m. Tuesday at Cumberland Chapels Funeral Home in Norridge. A funeral is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at St. Cyprian Church in River Grove.