Northeast Times

Tacony deli owners won't shut down after shooting

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John and Anna Jukic will nev­er for­get their life-or-death struggle with an armed rob­ber on Feb. 5. A bul­let hole in the stair­well of their Ta­cony del­icatessen will serve as per­haps their most vis­ible daily re­mind­er.

The hus­band and wife said they have no plans to shut down Anna’s Deli, on the corner of Prin­ceton Av­en­ue and Jack­son Street, in the af­ter­math of a shootout that left a pur­por­ted hood­lum dead and the couple prais­ing the neigh­bor­hood they call home.

“I opened up today out of spite to show I’m here and I’m gonna be here,” John Jukic told the North­east Times last Wed­nes­day morn­ing. “I love the neigh­bor­hood and they love me. I’m not go­ing to go nowhere.”

Shortly be­fore 6 p.m. the pre­vi­ous night, a 19-year-old with a gun entered the busi­ness and ordered some lunch­meat. John Jukic was be­hind the deli counter, but went to the rear of the shop to ask Anna to slice the meat.

John Jukic stayed in the back only mo­ment­ar­ily.

“I heard the slicer and [Anna] scream­ing. I knew it was something bad,” he said.

John Jukic, 55, grabbed his 9-mil­li­meter pis­tol from the back room and re-emerged in­to the main por­tion of the store. The rob­ber had jumped be­hind the counter, grabbed 54-year-old Anna and pulled her to­ward the cash re­gister.

“I came out and he took a shot at me. I shot back at him,” John Jukic said.

The rob­ber, who also had a 9-mil­li­meter pis­tol ac­cord­ing to po­lice, missed Jukic, who isn’t sure how many shots were fired.

“It happened so fast,” he said. “I think he got off a couple. I got off a couple, too.”

Jukic didn’t miss. His shot wounded the in­truder in the chest. Para­med­ics pro­nounced him dead at the scene at 6:22 p.m., po­lice said.

Po­lice have not re­leased the name of the al­leged rob­ber. John Jukic said he had nev­er seen the young man be­fore. Po­lice have re­covered both guns and are in­vest­ig­at­ing the leg­al statuses of both. No crim­in­al charges have been filed. 

“I don’t feel good about it. I’ve lived in the neigh­bor­hood for twenty years. My chil­dren and grand­chil­dren come here,” John Jukic said.

Busi­ness was brisk on the morn­ing after the shoot­ing as reg­u­lar cus­tom­ers lingered in the deli chat­ting about the pri­or even­ing’s events.

“Nowadays noth­ing sur­prises me. It’s a shame to say it, but that’s the truth,” said neigh­bor James Miller, 71. “[But] you al­ways think it hap­pens some­where else, not so close. … What are [they] sup­posed to do, close as soon as the sun goes down?”

Miller is glad to see the deli open for busi­ness.

“I come over here every day to get something to eat. They’re great neigh­bors and great people to deal with,” he said. “I’m happy they’re both OK.” ••

Re­port­er Wil­li­am Kenny can be reached at 215-354-3031 or wkenny@bsmphilly.com

You can reach at wkenny@bsmphilly.com.

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