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Police were looking for two burglars who they say killed the son of a longtime and respected immigrant family in Ozone Park during a break-in Wednesday night.
Geraldo Antoniello, 29, was shot in the head after he ran to help his father, Romeo, 61, when the two masked men broke into his home on North Conduit Avenue and assaulted his father around 10 p.m., police said. Romeo Antoniello, who was not seriously hurt during the attack, is well-known in the area for owning and running Romeo’s Pizzeria at 134-24 Cross Bay Boulevard for decades.
“This is going to affect the entire family. This is just tragic,” said John Gamble, 44, who has frequented the pizzeria for years.
Geraldo Antoniello, known to his friends as Jerry, was rushed to Jamaica Hospital in critical condition but he died around 6 a.m. Thursday morning, police said. No arrests had been made and the investigation was ongoing as of Thursday afternoon, according to the authorities. Police described the suspects as black males.
Geraldo Antoniello was the youngest of Romeo Antoniello’s three sons, one of whom is a police officer, according to friends. None of the family members could be reached for comment.
An unidentified woman set up a makeshift memorial at the pizza shop around noon and dozens of community members flocked to the site to pay tribute to the slain Antoniello family member. Romeo Antoniello emigrated from Italy to Queens and set up a pizza shop in south Queens, friends said.
In addition to opening up several shops across Queens, the family patriarch has given back to the Ozone Park neighborhood by donating to community charities and has offered friendly support to those in need.
“He didn’t care about money. He would give food away. He was humble,” said Antonio Cerron, a friend of many years who visited the memorial.
Anyone with information on the fugitives is urged to call Crimestoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), text their tips to 274637 (crimes) then enter TIP577 or log onto WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM. All reports will be kept confidential.
Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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