GoFundMe created for Giovanni’s employees following deadly robbery

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The man accused of a deadly robbery at a beloved Albuquerque pizzeria was supposed to face a judge Thursday, but Sylvan Alcachupas refused to show up.

Alcachupas has been charged with the murder of Rosario Zito, the owner of Giovanni’s Pizzeria in southeast Albuquerque. Police said Zito was shot and killed Tuesday night while he was trying to protect his employees.

Giovanni’s has decided to close up shop temporarily to give employees time to mourn. A sign on the restaurant’s door says Giovanni’s will reopen Sept. 15.

While the employees take some time to grieve, they need some extra help. That’s why Zito’s niece, Krystiana Dillon, created a GoFundMe page for the employees.

In a statement to KOB 4, Dillon said:

“Rosario was about the community and the employees that made Giovanni’s such a fixture in Albuquerque. This fundraiser is for the employees who are going through this alongside the family.”

Dillon also included a brief tribute to Zito’s life and accomplishments on the GoFundMe page. She said her uncle’s restaurant has been in a pillar in the community since 1988, and has remained true to its good, old-fashioned New York style for more than 30 years.

“If you were lucky enough to be greeted by Rosario himself, you would notice his big smile and thick Queens accent,” she wrote.

Dillon said Rosario is survived by his wife, parents, sister, nieces, nephews and countless other family members and close friends.

To donate to the GoFundMe, click here.