Louie Suljovic, the 38-year-old owner of Louie's Pizza & Restaurant in Elmhurst, was in the pizzeria with his father on Saturday night when they saw two men push a woman from behind and take her bag, according to a criminal complaint filed by the Queens District Attorney's Office.
Both of the Suljovics jumped into action to help the woman, but the two suspects pulled out knives and started swiping at them.
The elder Suljovic was stabbed nine times and had a punctured lung, while Louie was stabbed once and had a fractured rib as well as a punctured lung, the complaint said.
"Trying to take a breath, but it's hard to take a real breath, and you feel like a bubbling inside," Louie told WABC on Tuesday, noting that they'll take a few weeks to recover. "My dad's a bull, like old school men. They don't make them like they used to."
Multiple New York Police Department officers responded to the scene and were quickly able to apprehend the two suspects, 30-year-old Robert Whack and 18-year-old Supreme Gooding.
The Suljovics are now recovering at the Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, which is the same hospital to which Louie donated meals during the height of the pandemic to help out the staff and first responders.
"He and his father are among the very best New York has to offer," the NYPD 110th precinct tweeted. "We thank them for their bravery and wish them a speedy recovery."
Whack appeared in court this week and a judge set his bail at $250,000 or a $500,000 bond.
He is facing charges of second-degree attempted murder, assault, robbery, criminal possession of a weapon, and possession of a controlled substance.
Whack told officers that after the elderly lady started screaming, "Honestly I didn't know what to do, so I just stabbed him," according to the criminal complaint.
Police found 39 packets containing heroin and a bloody knife on Whack.
Whack is due back in court on April 1. The other suspect, Gooding, is still awaiting arraignment, a spokesperson for the Queens District Attorney's Office said.