Thugs sucker punch ‘local legend’ Vietnam vet, 81, while he’s delivering pizzas in Chicago — then steal, crash his car

Ernie Aimone, an 81-year-old Vietnam veteran, has been delivering pizza to Joe’s on Higgins in Chicago for the past 40 years. WLS-TV reported.

Image source: YouTube screenshot

Image source: YouTube screenshot

The station said Aimone was at work as usual Wednesday night and had just delivered a pizza to the Jefferson Park neighborhood in the city’s northwest.

WLS reported that Aimone was crossing the street in the 5300 block of North Ludlum Avenue just after 9 p.m. when he was punched from behind and fell to the ground.

“They said, ‘Give me the keys, give me the keys,'” Aimone told the station. “Then they hit me from behind and punched me in the face. My life was in danger.”

Aimone told WLS that he did not fight back and lay face down on the road, listening as the attackers drove away. Chicago police confirmed Aimone’s statement, the department said, adding that state police found Aimone’s 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe on the highway several hours later.

A pursuit ensued, after which a car was found to have crashed and suffered significant damage, WLS said, adding that police had arrested the teenage suspect and were searching for other suspects.

“He’s like family to us,” Frank DeMonte of Jaws on Higgins told the station. “He’s watched me grow up since I was little. He worked for my dad.”

Gina Demonte, also of Jaws on Higgins, added to WLS, “Ernie is very special to us. Always has been.”

Additionally, the agency said many customers specifically asked Aimone to deliver pizza.

According to WLS, Aimone had a lot of praise around him, and once word got out about what happened to Aimone, people in the community came forward to help.

“He’s something of a local legend,” Dan Ciolino of the Gladstone Park Chamber of Commerce told the station. “He has been loyal to Jaws for 40 years. He has served our country. He deserves our support in his time of need.”

“It could have been much worse. I don’t know what would have happened without him,” Aimone’s daughter Robin told WLS.

Image source: YouTube screenshot

“I have to live for them.”

Despite the experience, which has turned many people away, Aymone told the TV station that he has not given up. Once she gets a car again, she plans to go back to work right away.

“I have a daughter and a son,” he told WLS. “I have to live for them.”

It looks like Gladstone Park Chamber of Commerce may have a new set of wheels available soon. gofundme A page is set up to support him — and as of Monday afternoon, more than $46,600 of the $75,000 goal has been raised.

From the GoFundMe campaign:

Vietnam veteran Ernie Aimone has been a fixture on Chicago’s northwest side for more than 40 years, and has been part of the team at Joe’s Pizza for just as long. In fact, he’s probably been delivering pizza to you and your family during that time. If you order from Joe’s! He’s a proud Chicagoan and a proud Sgt. He is a veteran of the United States Army and served in Vietnam on multiple tours. He has become something of a local legend, but has fallen on hard times lately. Just a few nights ago, Ernie was carjacked by multiple people who stole his cell phone, took his car, and left it badly damaged. Ernie’s main source of income is delivering pizza to Joe’s, and his insurance company wants to deny his claim because he was carjacked while on duty. We don’t know if he will be able to pay for the repairs or pay for a car to continue his work, but our community is stepping in to help. It is at times like these that our friends and neighbors need us most. Please consider donating as much as you can to support Ernie in hopes that his situation will improve. Ernie proudly served his country and contributed to our community over the years. And now it’s time for us to deliver for him!

81-year-old veteran attacked pizza delivery man, carjacked in Chicago: ‘They beat me’

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