Tacony deli owners won't shut down after shooting
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 email@example.com