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Even after being shot, store owner fights off gunman with bat

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Updated: May 12, 2013 2:12PM



Luis Quizhpe would take the shirt off his back for someone who needed it, his son said Wednesday.

On Tuesday he took a bullet — while swinging a baseball bat at a gun-wielding robber — defending the Logan Square novelty store he’s run for 28 years.

“I’m so lucky,” the 62-year-old shop owner said from his hospital bed on Wednesday. “It was like the Fourth of July. I just heard lots of noise. Pow, pow, pow,” Quizhpe said. “...I was so mad at them,” he said of the two men who held him up.

Cornell Mack, 53, was charged with attempted murder, armed robbery and discharge of a firearm in the incident, police said Thursday. Police continued to search for a second suspect in the attack.

The dramatic robbery, caught on store surveillance, shows one of the robbers holding a gun to Luis Quizhpe’s brother-in-law, who was also inside Quizhpe’s Gifts and Sports in the 2200 block of North Western.

The elder Quizhpe can be seen grabbing a baseball bat and swinging as the robber fires continuous rounds at him at close range. Just one bullet pierced Quizhpe’s leg.

Still Quizhpe kept on swinging, even after being shot, and even as one of the robbers hopped back over the counter and shot at him again at close range. The video captured Quizhpe’s brother-in-law hitting one of the robbers with an extension rod, then grabbing a stool and throwing it at him. Just after the robber had hopped over the counter to escape, Quizhpe’s brother-in-law can be seen throwing a fire extinguisher at him on the way out.

Standing outside his father’s store Wednesday, Quizhpe’s son, Juan, called his dad a “very tough guy.” He said his father was “praying for the robbers because they need prayers more than he does.”

Longtime family friend John Gutierrez owns a graphics shop with Juan Quizhpe across the street and said the elder Quizhpe is like a father to him.

“It’s kind of crazy. It’s a miracle he’s alive,” Gutierrez said. “You ever see those videos where people rob a place and somebody is being shot at like 15 times and they only get hit once? That’s basically how it happened.”

Gutierrez said the Quizhpe family are well-known Ecuadorians, and have helped countless Ecuadorians settle in Chicago.

“They’re very religious people and they do a lot for the community. They do a lot for the Ecuadorian community,” Gutierrez said. “They are the forefathers of people coming from Ecuador and migrating to Chicago, where they have helped a lot of families get on their feet, help with their papers, documentations.”

The store is known for its vast flag varieties, and for its soccer jerseys but the store also cashes checks, which is what Gutierrez believes was the motive behind the attack.

Gutierrez said he’s not surprised Luis Quizhpe fought off his attacker. “To (him), it’s more of a major disrespect — you come into my house and disrespect me, you might as well kill me now, because I’m not going to go down like that.”

The family closed the store for business on Wednesday.The store’s front glass counter, containing costume jewelry, had been bashed in.

Contributing: Mitch Dudek



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