Stabbed deli owner talks about attack

May 7, 2009 4:01:18 PM PDT
A deli owner who was robbed and stabbed on Monday is now out of the hospital.51-year-old Ed Whalen greeted customers outside his store at 74th and Elmwood Thursday.

Whalen said he was trying to protect his daughter from two robbers when he was attacked.

Whalen is expected to fully recover. His daughter was not hurt.

"Everything's, luckily, superficial. I hurt my knee, I have to go back and get that checked," Whalen said. "I got a lot of bruises, but that's going away now."

Police have arrested two suspects in the case.

20-year-old Zinnah Tobert was arrested late Tuesday night. The SWAT team took him into custody in the 7000 block of Wheeler Street.

Early Tuesday morning police arrested 22-year-old Terrell Nelson.

Police say it was Nelson and Tobert who walked into Whalen's deli Monday afternoon and announced a robbery. Whalen's daughter Ashley was behind the cash register when police say Nelson pulled out a knife, and Tobert a gun.

Ed Whalen warned the men not to harm his daughter.

"They were going to hurt my daughter," Whalen said. "It doesn't matter what happens to me, they weren't going to put a knife to my daughter's throat," Whalen said.

Police say that's when Nelson went after the deli owner, stabbing him repeatedly.

Police say Nelson and Tobert grabbed some cash and fled. Neighbors soon came forward and identified the pair as the armed robbers who they saw ditching the knife in a nearby sewer.

Whalen's family says it was not the first robbery at the corner deli and Whalen was going to sell the place in just a few weeks. After the stabbing, it appeared the store might never re-open.

However, Whalen announced he would not be scared away, and he planned to reopen the store on Saturday.

"I've been doing business for 20 some years here, I've been here for 50, my whole life. I'm not going to leave," said Whalen.

"This is how he is, this is the longest he's ever been out of work. He doesn't take vaction. Sad to say, but this is like a vacation," said Ashley Whalen.

"They can't go around intimidating people, and people running. It's got to stop," said Whalen's wife, Sissy.

Like Tobert, Nelson now faces charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault, robbery, and related crimes.

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