Albano's owner fatally shot in Cicero attempted robbery - KMSP-TV

Cicero pizzeria owner fatally shot in attempted robbery

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Giovanni Donancricchia (pictured center) Giovanni Donancricchia (pictured center)
CICERO (FOX 32 News) -

Giovanni Donancricchia was married to his business, a Cicero pizzeria that boasted its ranking by the Travel Channel as one of top 101 places to chow down.

"He was pretty much the standard European-seeking-American-dream guy when he came here," said Saverio Donancricchia, 35. "Whether he was sick or disabled, he was always there."

Giovanni Donancricchia was fatally shot early Thursday in a robbery attempt at the pizzeria, Albano's at 5913 W. Roosevelt Rd. in Cicero.

"My father said he was going to die with the restaurant and he did," Giovanni's daughter Maria Romo says. "He was never going to leave. It's what he loved to do. It's who he is."

The 64-year-old pizzeria owner and his wife, Angela, were closing up the restaurant when the robber came through the back door, pointed a gun at Angela Donancricchia and demanded money. Giovanni Donancricchia confronted the assailant and told his wife to go outside to call the police. Outside, she heard a shot and returned to find her husband lying on the floor.

"And didn't even get a chance to dial 911 and she heard a shot, which was only one shot that shot my dad in the chest....and killed him on the spot," Maria tells FOX 32 News.

He was pronounced dead at the scene just before 1 a.m., according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's office.

The restaurant was equipped with a video surveillance system, installed after a previous robbery in March.

"There was no reason to shoot this guy," Cicero town spokesman Ray Hanania said. "The police are working very hard to identify the shooter. There is surveillance tape from the restaurant." 

Regarding Angela Donancricchia, son Saverio says "she's devastated. This is the man she's been married to for over 40 years. They have three kids, six grand kids. It's devastating."

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.

"Mr. Donancricchia was a well-liked person in the community and we share with his family the grief they must be experiencing today," Hanania said in a statement.

Restaurant employees and longtime customers gathered in shock Thursday, leaving flowers and cards for the man they say was generous to a fault.

"He was a warm guy," customer Gigi Rovito says of Giovanni. "He'd give you anything. The whole town, they all knew him. He'd never say no to you."

"He always helped people," employee Janae Sams explains. "Anybody come through want some food, he'd always give them food. Always helping borrow money. He never said no."

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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