Hero Queens pizzeria owner, dad stabbed while breaking up robbery

ELMHURST, Queens (WABC) -- A pizzeria owner and his son are being hailed as heroes after jumping into action to stop a robbery in Queens, though both were stabbed in the process.

Now, that business owner, 38-year-old Louie Suljovic, is speaking out to Eyewitness News.

Police say a 61-year-old woman was pushing a grocery cart outside Louie's Pizza on Baxter Avenue in Elmhurst when she was attacked and stabbed by three men just before 9 p.m. Saturday.

Suljovic, a military veteran, was working behind the counter with his 68-year-old father Charlie when they noticed the commotion outside.

Without hesitation, the two men jumped into action to help.

"My father noticed it first, that the woman was attacked and she was on the floor, and my understanding was he heard screaming," Suljovic said. "So he went after them and yelled my name. Once I heard my name, we both chased them down the block."

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Suljovic said the woman suffered a long gash and was losing a lot of blood.

The Korean woman didn't want to appear on camera, but she told Eyewitness News she remembers being pushed from behind and knocked to the ground, having her bag stolen, and then being stabbed.

She does not know what her assailants said to her because of a language barrier.

Louie was stabbed while struggling with the assailants, while his father was stabbed in the back nine times. Both suffered a collapsed lung.

"Trying to take a breath, but it's hard to take a real breath, and you feel like a bubbling inside," Louie said. "My dad's a bull, like old school men. They don't make them like they used to."

He and his father held down two of the three suspects until police arrived and then walked themselves to the emergency room at Elmhurst Hospital across the street.

Robert Whack, 30, is charged with robbery, assault, criminal possession of a weapon, and criminal possession of a controlled substance, while 18-year-old Supreme Gooding is charged with robbery, assault, and criminal possession of a weapon.

The third assailant remains on the loose.

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During the pandemic, Louie's remained open and donated meals to Elmhurst Hospital staff and first responders.

"He and his father are among the very best New York has to offer," police said in a Twitter post. "We thank them for their bravery and wish them a speedy recovery."

A GoFundMe page set up to help pay for medical expenses has raised more than $42,000 as of Tuesday morning.

"People who know us in the area know our personality and what we're willing to sacrifice for everybody in our area," Louie said.

He said it's still unknown if they'll be dealing with long term injuries, but he said they'll take a few weeks to recover and then reopen the pizzeria.

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