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Police: Slain pizzeria owner shielded his wife

Alleged gunman who shot suburban pizzeriowner Giovanni Donancricchicaptured surveillance cameras

Alleged gunman who shot suburban pizzeria owner Giovanni Donancricchia captured on surveillance cameras

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Updated: July 24, 2013 7:03AM

A 23-year-old Chicago man was ordered held without bail Saturday in the shooting death of pizzeria owner Giovanni Donancricchia inside the Cicero restaurant he owned for 25 years.

Prosecutors say Donancricchia came to his wife’s aid and gave her time to escape when their restaurant, Albano’s pizzeria, was being robbed after closing time Thursday.

At a court hearing Saturday, they said Matthew Brown-Turner entered Albano’s through a back door, held a gun to the head of Donancricchia’s wife, Angela Donancricchia, then demanded cash.

Giovanni Donancricchia shielded his wife from the gun and pushed her behind him, prosecutors said at Brown-Turner’s bail hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse at 26th and California. The businessman’s actions gave his wife time to escape, investigators said.

Giovanni Donancricchia initially followed his wife as she fled, but then returned to confront the robber and was shot once in the chest, police said. The gunman then ran off through an alley.

Thursday night, a witness who knows Brown-Turner contacted police and gave them Brown-Turner’s address, authorities said. At about 2 a.m. Friday Brown-Turner showed up and was taken into custody. The police said he made statements to investigators implicating himself in the attempted robbery and Giovanni Donancricchia’s killing.

After what police called a lengthy felony review process, Brown-Turner was charged with three counts of murder and one of attempted armed robbery.

Brown-Turner has two prior drug convictions, prosecutors told Judge Israel Desierto Saturday. Assistant public defender Samantha Slonim told Desierto that Brown-Turner, a high school graduate, babysits his nieces and nephews.

Brown-Turner’s address is listed in Buffalo, NY, but Cicero officials said he was from Chicago.

Giovanni 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.

On Saturday, Cicero Town spokesman Ray Hanania called Giovanni Donancricchia a “hero.”

“Giovanni Donancricchia was a real hero,” Hanania said in a statement. “When he discovered that an unknown person had entered his restaurant from the backdoor with a weapon, and confronted his wife Angela, his first concern obviously was for his wife’s safety. With a disregard for the threat the killer posed to him, he ushered his wife out of the restaurant and harm’s way, which saved her. He then returned to confront the suspect when he was shot and killed.”

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