Two gunmen were shot, one fatally, by a customer during a holdup late Tuesday night at a pizza shop in an incident that rocked a normally quiet strip mall in Levittown, Bucks County, authorities said.
Just after closing time, police said two armed men entered Porfirio’s II on Veterans Highway about 10 p.m. and announced a robbery.
"We were already closed but we leave the door open in case anybody comes, Gilmer Porfirio, who owns the shop with his brother, said Wednesday. “We know all the people here."
One gunman went to two employees at the counter while the other directed his attention to the customer, a local businessman on his way home, police said. The customer put up his hands, but the robber knocked him to the ground and hit him with his handgun.
The customer then pulled his registered Glock pistol and fired when the gunman turned around with his weapon pointed at the customer, police said. He then fired at the second bandit.
"It was a robbery, and appears the customer was defending himself," Middletown Township Police Chief Joe Bartorilla told reporters at the scene.
Police said that the two employees in the shop were not injured and that the customer suffered minor injuries.
One suspect was reported dead at the scene and a second was taken to St. Mary Medical Center in Langhorne in serious condition.
The customer was interviewed by detectives at police headquarters.
Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub has scheduled a news conference for 3 p.m.
Porfirio said that he and his brother had their eye on the strip mall for their second restaurant, and it opened about 3 ½ years ago. "This town has always been nice, quiet, good people, and that's the whole reason why we opened the store around here," Porfirio said.
Porfirio said he was standing outside the store when he heard the gunshots. His brother came running. They called the police. Everything happened so fast, he said, looking tired as he stood outside the storefront early Wednesday afternoon.
Aside from employees, no one else was in the restaurant at the time except the customer involved, he said.
His neighbors in the strip mall were buzzing with the news Wednesday. In Dale's Delicatessen, two women traded rumors. The bar was open at the time of the shooting, though the deli wasn't.
"We don't see much of this in the neighborhood," said the deli manager.
Dave Hwangbo, owner of Aladdin Cleaners, said he was shocked to hear what had happened.
"They are very nice people," he said of the Porfirios.
"It's a nice neighborhood. We're going to keep it this same way," said Porfirio, a native of Guatemala.
"That's going to give the burglars a lesson, too."
The pizzeria was closed Wednesday, but, he said, "tomorrow we're going to be back working like nothing happened."