Louie Suljovic, 38, a military veteran and owner of Louie’s Pizzeria on Baxter Avenue, and his 68-year-old father both suffered stab wounds after stepping in to stop a group of would-be robbers.
With the pizzeria closed while they recover from their injuries, the Elmhurst community is giving back to them for their bravery, with funds from the GoFundMe page going toward covering hospital expenses and paying the pizzeria’s staff. As of Tuesday afternoon, the page has raised over $52,000 of its $75,000 goal.
Throughout the pandemic, Louie’s remained open, donating meals to frontline workers at the nearby Elmhurst Hospital and delivering food to those quarantined at home. Now, Suljovic and his father are recovering from their injuries at that hospital.
The organizer of the GoFundMe, Melanie Brussat, said she and her family have been regular customers at Louie’s for a long time. After she heard about the incident on social media, Brussat checked to see if a GoFundMe had been made yet, but nothing was created at the time.
“I posted on the neighborhood list to see if anyone knew them personally and what they might need from a GoFundMe, and then it only took a few minutes to set up,” Brussat said. “I’m sure any number of us neighbors would have set up a GoFundMe, I just happened to get there first!”
According to police from the 110th Precinct, three suspects approached the 61-year-old Korean woman outside of Louie’s Pizzeria on Baxter Avenue before 9 p.m. on March 26. The assailants allegedly pushed her to the ground, took her bag and stabbed her right as Suljovic and his father noticed what was going on and ran outside to help.
Suljovic told ABC 7 that he was stabbed while struggling with the attackers and his father was stabbed nine times. The pair were also struck with an unidentified object and both of the men reportedly suffered collapsed lungs.
The father and son duo held two of the assailants down while waiting for the police to come and then reportedly walked themselves to the Elmhurst Hospital emergency room across the street from the pizzeria.
Police said that two assailants, 30-year-old Robert Whack and 18-year-old Supreme Gooding, were arrested. Cops also said that Whack was in possession of “a large amount of heroin.”
Both men were charged with robbery, assault, gang assault and criminal possession of a weapon. Whack was also charged with a second case of assault and two cases of criminal possession of a controlled substance, according to authorities.
The third assailant in the attack remains at large.
Police from the 110th Precinct took to Twitter to commend the father and son for their heroism.
Local Military veteran and pizzeria owner Louie was working behind the counter at Louie’s pizza when he and his father witnessed an elderly woman being robbed outside. Without hesitation, they jumped into action to help and were stabbed in the process. (1/3) pic.twitter.com/CB42vjTsVH
— NYPD 110th Precinct (@NYPD110Pct) March 28, 2022