A store clerk who was the victim of an armed robbery that ended in a late-night car chase through two Massachusetts towns, is speaking out about his decision to fight back.
Gianni Mazza, 42, of Peabody, walked into Malden District Court on Wednesday morning, limping, visibly bruised and wearing a hospital gown at his arraignment, where he was ordered held on $100,000 bail on charges of armed robbery while masked, failure to stop for police and various other motor vehicle violations.
On Tuesday night, Everett police said two officers were patrolling the Elm Street area at about 9:45 p.m. when an employee of Fine Mart Store began chasing a suspect down Springdale Avenue on foot.
The employee, Kiet Ngo, told police the suspect, later identified as Mazza, showed a firearm and demanded money.
Instead of giving up he money, Ngo grabbed a chair and hit Mazza, knocking him down into a rack of candy.
"It's just a natural instinct I think,' said Ngo. "I have been robbed five times before so this time I decided to fight back."
Ngo then grabbed a red metal bat and chased Mazza out of the store
Mazza then fled the area in a white van, which was pursued into Revere by the officers, where Mazza eventually crashed through a fence and landed in a backyard swimming pool on Butler Avenue. He then took off on foot.
"I heard a bang and saw a hole in my father's fence," said witness Linda Veraldi.
"Nobody got hurt, that's the good thing," she added. "We can fix the pool, fix the fence."
After a massive police search of the area, Mazza was eventually taken into custody around 12:15 a.m. Wednesday behind the Global Oil on Lee Burbank Highway, about a mile away from the crash scene.
Police said a replica firearm was recovered from Mazza's van.
Everett's police chief called this incident a desperate act and added his department sees more of these incidents during the holiday season.
At Mazza's arraignment, his wife, Karina Mazza, blamed the incident on a recent drug relapse.
"I was upset, sad." she said. "I have a 2 and 4-year-old who are asking for their fathers. My reaction is my kids."
Ngo said he was scared by the ordeal, but was determined.
"I was scared, actually, because any time people pull a gun at you, it's scary because you don't know what happens," he said.
It's unclear if Mazza is being represented by an attorney or when his next court appearance is.