A New York City pizzeria owner and his father are being hailed as heroes after they chased down suspects in the robbery of an older Asian woman and were stabbed trying to help her Saturday.
The New York Police Department’s 110th Precinct tweeted Monday that restaurant owner Louie Suljovic, 38, a military veteran, and his father, Charles Suljovic, 68, saw a robbery taking place outside Louie's Pizzeria and Restaurant in Queens.
The men, without hesitation, "jumped into action to help and were stabbed in the process."
"We thank them for their bravery and wish them a speedy recovery," police wrote.
NBC New York reported that both father — stabbed nine times — and son — stabbed once — suffered collapsed lungs but are expected to recover.
The 61-year-old victim, who is of Korean descent, was stabbed once in the back through her jacket, her family told NBC New York.
A police spokesperson said the third platoon patrol in Elmhurst arrested two people in connection with the robbery. The unnamed victim told officers she was approached from behind and pushed and then had her bag stolen.
Robert Whack, 30, was arrested and charged with robbery, assault, gang assault and criminal possession of a weapon. Supreme Gooding, 18, was arrested and charged with robbery, gang assault and criminal possession of a weapon.
Police said a “large amount of alleged heroin” was found on Whack, who is due back in court Friday after an arraignment Tuesday. Attorney information was not immediately available for the suspects.
Melanie Brussat, who organized a GoFundMe drive for the pizzeria and its owners, wrote that Louie’s "stayed open throughout the pandemic, providing much-needed energy and sustenance to the heroic workers of nearby Elmhurst hospital, not to mention delivering countless meals to those of us sheltering at home."
"We knew the owners were heroes, but the bravery and heroism they showed last night was truly off the charts," Brussat wrote.
Donor Gayle Ann Reas, who said she is “praying for their recovery,” wrote, “We are long time customers of Louies pizzeria and Louie is always so nice and pleasant and its no wonder him and his dad never hesitated to help the woman robbed.”
Comments from nearly 4,000 donors highlighted the impact Louie and Charles Suljovic's "courageous" actions had on the Queens neighborhood of Elmhurst, which has a large Asian population.
A donor wrote: "We need more people like you in our community. You gave us hope. Thank you for helping the vulnerable. That woman could’ve been my mother, my sister, or my wife. I wish you fast and complete recovery. Thank you again."
Another donor reported that Louie’s and his father's "courageous action is now on the news in Korea as well."
"Not only did you save an innocent persons life," the donor wrote, "you have also given the rest of us renewed hope in humanity in contrast to the ugliness we have all been seeing in our world."
As of Wednesday, $170,000 had been raised, well above the $75,000 goal.