Northeast Times

‘This is a sad situation’

Ta­cony res­id­ents grieve for a murdered neigh­bor and ex­press their out­rage over the vi­ol­ent crime that took his life.

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On Monday, El­len Bron­iszewski stood and looked at a shut-down Jin House Chinese Res­taur­ant & Deli.

Three nights earli­er, Xi­ang Huang was shot to death dur­ing a rob­bery of his Ta­cony shop. The hard-work­ing, 27-year-old busi­ness­man, a Chinese im­mig­rant, left be­hind a wife and three young daugh­ters.

“What a god­damn shame,” Bron­iszewski re­peated sev­er­al times.

Po­lice said the rob­bery happened shortly be­fore 7 p.m. Fri­day at the res­taur­ant, loc­ated on the south­w­est corner of Tulip Street and Long­shore Av­en­ue.

Two black men wear­ing dark cloth­ing and ski masks entered the store with guns, de­mand­ing money. Huang’s wife Jin told the rob­bers to take money from the cash re­gister, then went to a back room with her 8-month-old daugh­ter.

While tak­ing her child to safety, she heard a gun­shot. Huang, who was cook­ing when the crim­in­als entered, was shot once in the chest. He was pro­nounced dead at the scene.

The city has pos­ted a $15,000 re­ward for in­form­a­tion lead­ing to the ar­rests and con­vic­tions of the mur­der­ers. Any­one with in­form­a­tion can call 911, the po­lice hom­icide unit at 215-686-3334 (3335), dial 215-686-TIPS or sub­mit a tip an­onym­ously at ht­tp://www.philly­po­lice.com/forms/sub­mit-a-tip/

The shop, which also sold gro­cer­ies, did not have sur­veil­lance cam­er­as. However, there were cam­er­as on the four-unit apart­ment build­ing across the street, and po­lice are hop­ing the im­ages lead them to the killers. For now, at least, they are not re­leas­ing the video to the pub­lic.

Huang, his wife and daugh­ters lived in an up­stairs apart­ment.

Long­time res­id­ents re­call that the prop­erty at 4832 Long­shore Ave. was a dry clean­er at one time. At oth­er times, it was closed to busi­ness. Be­fore Huang opened for busi­ness, there were sev­en or eight oth­er Chinese food stores in op­er­a­tion.

Neigh­bors re­call at least two oth­er rob­ber­ies of the store since Huang opened last spring. In ad­di­tion, he was robbed at least once while mak­ing a de­liv­ery.

Capt. Frank Bach­may­er, com­mand­er of the 15th Po­lice Dis­trict, urged any­one be­ing robbed with a gun in a store or on the street to give up their money.

“This is a sad situ­ation,” he said. “You have a twenty-sev­en-year-old guy try­ing to raise a fam­ily and have a busi­ness, and he’s shot and killed.”

Bach­may­er is con­fid­ent there will be ar­rests.

“Be­lieve me, we will get these two,” he said.

Neigh­bors held a vi­gil at the scene on Sat­urday night and left be­hind stuffed an­im­als, candles, bal­loons and flowers. Someone also pos­ted a sign that read, “To the m–—f–– a––- that did this, I hope you rot in hell. I put a spell on you!”

The store, which offered ca­ter­ing, is in a rather re­mote loc­a­tion, well east of the Tor­res­dale Av­en­ue busi­ness strip. Be­sides the small apart­ment build­ing, the in­ter­sec­tion fea­tures a nice wall mur­al and a build­ing that is home to the Jack Cos­tello Box­ing Club.

Some neigh­bors said the store did not seem to be busy. They all agreed that the killing was an out­rage.

“This is the fourth time they were robbed. I think it’s ter­rible. A young couple is try­ing to make a liv­ing. It’s a damn shame,” said a Tulip Street res­id­ent named Mar­ie.

Among res­id­ents, there is a feel­ing that the area is in de­cline.

“The neigh­bor­hood has been go­ing down­hill for the last ten years,” said Bill Mingle, a res­id­ent of the 6800 block of Tulip St. who plans to move to Flor­ida when his wife re­tires from work.

The Mingles ordered Chinese food from Huang’s store once a month.

“The gen­tle­man who got shot, he was the cook and the de­liv­ery per­son. He was a nice guy. The whole fam­ily was nice. And the food was al­ways good,” he said.

Sean Laub, of Long­shore Av­en­ue, was a reg­u­lar cus­tom­er.

“He was real quiet. He stayed to him­self and took care of his busi­ness. They were good people,” he said.

Stas Muk­hortov owns the prop­erty at 4826 Long­shore Ave., which in­cludes apart­ments and a com­mer­cial space.

“He made my soup twenty minutes be­fore it happened,” he said of the vic­tim. “All he did was work, work, work. He worked sev­en days a week. They were nice people.”

Muk­hortov ate his food, then fixed a flat tire, and did not hear the shoot­ing be­cause he was us­ing power tools.

Like oth­ers, he wished the own­er had taken se­cur­ity meas­ures.

“Every time I’d go in there, I’d say to my­self, ‘Where is the bul­let­proof glass?’ ” he said.

The murder took place a block away from the in­fam­ous “dun­geon,” where a land­lord last Oc­to­ber found four men­tally chal­lenged and mal­nour­ished in­di­vidu­als locked in an apart­ment base­ment.

Louis M. Iatarola, whose real es­tate of­fice is at 4817 Long­shore Ave., called the murder “ten times worse” for Ta­cony than the earli­er in­cid­ent be­cause the al­leged ab­users were from out­side the area.

“The most fright­en­ing thing is, these guys are still out there,” he said of the mur­der­ers.

Iatarola, who is also a board mem­ber of the His­tor­ic­al So­ci­ety of Ta­cony and zon­ing chair­man for the Ta­cony Civic As­so­ci­ation, said there’s no way to spin the murder. It’s a stigma on that sec­tion of Ta­cony.

Iatarola de­scribed the killers as “an­im­als” for gun­ning down a help­less shop own­er.

“It was a fam­ily-run op­er­a­tion. His wife and three kids were out there. He was hard-work­ing. It’s tra­gic that something like that happened,” he said.

Res­id­ents ex­pressed sad­ness for the vic­tim’s wife.

“They were a nice young couple who came over to this coun­try to try to make a life for them­selves. It was a mom-and-pop busi­ness,” Bron­iszewski said.

Res­id­ents hope their neigh­bor­hood sta­bil­izes.

“Us good guys just got to stick to­geth­er,” Bron­iszewski said. ••

End­Frag­ment

You can reach at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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