Eun Hee Chang, the 61-year-old woman who was robbed outside Louie’s pizzeria in Queens, New York, thanked the business’ owners for intervening on her behalf.
An immigrant from Korea, Chang told the New York Post that she was “very grateful” for 38-year-old Louie Suljovic and his 68-year-old father Cazim Suljovic, who chased down her attackers. Chang apparently ran into Louie’s at Baxter Avenue and Judge Street in Elmhurst after being targeted by the robbers on March 26, having reportedly been familiar with the owners. During the course of running after Chang’s attackers, Suljovic was stabbed nine times, while his son and Chang were each stabbed once.
“You can’t let it go,” Cazim Suljovic told the Post. “I have a mother. I have sisters. Thank God I only had fingers [to fight them]. If I had something else, a different story would have happened.”
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The heroes suffered collapsed lungs and are currently recovering in an Elmhurst hospital. Chang, who went home after the incident, did not realize she had been stabbed until her superintendent pointed out a wound on her back. She told the Post that she returned to work the next day because she needed to continue making a living.
Minkwon Center for Community Action housing organizer Hailie Kim, who translated for Chang in her interview with the Post, said, “She did say she was afraid of stepping out again.”
“But she also expressed that after knowing how the father and the son stepped up to protect her and defend her, she kind of also felt a sort of connection to the community, which she hasn’t felt before,” Kim added. “She was very grateful for it, and that makes her feel safe.”
Two of the alleged attackers, 30-year-old Robert Whack and 18-year-old Supreme Gooding, have been arrested and charged. The police are still searching for a third suspect.
“It’s worrying that attacks on our community are rising so rapidly,” Kim told the Post. “A lot of fear that we have been seeing is perpetrated by the xenophobic language against the Asian American community since COVID started.”
“I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we are being targeted,” she added.