Man held in slaying of Cicero restaurant owner
A Chicago man has been arrested and charged with the death of a popular pizzeria owner in Cicero.
7:15 p.m. CDT, June 22, 2013
A man charged in the fatal shooting of a Cicero restaurant owner who was trying to protect his wife this week was ordered held without bail today.
Matthew A. Brown-Turner, 25, has been charged with murder and attempted armed robbery in the fatal shooting of Giovanni Donancricchia, 64, early Thursday morning. Brown-Turner, who court records show lives in Buffalo, N.Y., was ordered held in a Cook County Bond Court hearing. Donancricchia saw Brown-Turner enter the back door of his restaurant, Albano’s Pizza, about 12:30 a.m. and followed him to the counter, where he saw Brown-Turner pointing a gun at his wife, Angela, 62, police said. “Giovanni observed the offender with the gun and entered through the swinging door and physically confronted the offender, giving his wife time to escape from the area,” town officials said in a statement. “Giovanni followed her out but then returned to confront the offender again and was shot once in the chest.” The robber fled down an alley, police said. Later that day, someone called police and said Brown-Turner had been watching news of the robbery and said he had been involved. The witness gave police the name and address of the suspect and he was arrested around 2 a.m. Friday, police said. “During subsequent interviews, the subject made statements implicating himself in the attempted robbery and the murder of Mr. Donancricchia,” the town said. Charges were filed Friday evening. Donancricchia’s son, Saverio, said his father and mother, Angela, had closed the restaurant, 5913 W. Roosevelt Road, around midnight and locked the front door. Saverio said his mother told him that the gunman came in the back door and snuck up behind her before putting a gun to her head. Saverio said that while his mother tried to open the cash register, Giovanni, who had been in a walk-in cooler, came running from the back of the restaurant. His mother screamed “Give him what he wants,” the son said. Giovanni told his wife to go outside and call the police. Saverio said his mother ran out the back door and heard a gunshot about 30 seconds later. Giovanni said his mother and father immigrated to the United States from Italy in the late 1960s. His father was a well-liked neighborhood businessman who ran the restaurant for 25 years, he said. Saverio said his family decided on Friday that they will reopen the restaurant on June 28. “My father built his business for 25 years and to shut down his dream won’t make sense,” he said. “We also want to reopen in his memory and to continue his legacy.” Saverio said his mother, two adult sisters and possibly other family members will run the restaurant. He said his family plans to hire off-duty police officers at the restaurant for safety purposes. Giovanni and his restaurant were featured on the Travel Channel’s “Chowdown Countdown” and on “Chicago’s Best,” which airs on WGN-TV and CLTV.
Brown-Turner, formerly of the 1200 block of North Mayfield Avenue in the Austin neighborhood, pleaded guilty to felony drug possession in May 2009, according to court records. He had been arrested on suspicion of heroin possession after police caught him in the 3100 block of West Jackson Boulevard about 6:50 p.m. on April 4, 2009, according to police and court records.
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- 5913 West Roosevelt Road, Cicero, IL 60804, USA
- 1200 North Mayfield Avenue, Chicago, IL 60651, USA
- 3100 West Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60612, USA
At the time Brown-Turner turned himself in to police in the Cicero slaying, he was wanted on a warrant for violating his probation in the drug case, for which he had been sentenced to two years of intensive probation, according to court and sheriff’s records. He had been cited repeatedly for violating probation before disappearing in March 2011 and having a warrant issued for his arrest, according to court records. The drug-case warrant was served in court today, according to court records.
Although Cicero officials said Brown-Turner had been living most recently in Chicago, court records give his address as the 100 block of Potomac Avenue in Buffalo, N.Y.
Tribune reporter Liam Ford and freelance reporter Joseph Ruzich contributed.