PETER LY, a West Philly deli owner, was about to make a deposit at the Woori America Bank in Cheltenham last month when one of three men in a black Volvo ambushed him in the parking lot, demanding his money.
Ly, 55, threw his black shopping bag filled with thousands of dollars in cash to the robber. As Ly then tried to run into the bank, the robber shot and injured him anyway, police and Ly's wife said.
Last night, more than three weeks later, following treatment at Albert Einstein Medical Center and then at a rehab center, Peter Ly returned home.
"It's crazy, it's too scary. I'm scared to go near that bank," Jenny Ly, his wife, said in an interview yesterday at the family's Rainbow Deli on Market Street, near 52nd, by the rumbling El.
In light of this latest attack on an Asian-American business owner, law-enforcement and government leaders will hold a community meeting from 6:30 to 8 tonight in the food court of the H Mart supermarket in Elkins Park, 7320 Old York Road, 2nd floor.
Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman, who will speak at the gathering, said yesterday that it is intended to give business owners specific safety information and to build a bridge between the Asian community and law enforcement so that people are less afraid of reporting a crime.
She said she believes that Ly was targeted because he's Asian and a business owner, and because the "perpetrators felt he would be a vulnerable target."
Authorities have said that some criminals target Asian business owners because they believe that Asians carry lots of cash and may not follow through in reporting the crimes.
Philadelphia Deputy Police Commissioner Jack Gaittens, who also is expected to attend the meeting, serves as the Police Department's liaison with the Asian community. He said that he hasn't noticed a spike in crimes targeted at Asian business owners, but that given the recent attack on Ly and the fear it has engendered, the meeting will serve as a reminder of what to do to keep safe and give people a chance to ask questions.
Gaittens recalled a rash of robberies in 2010 targeting Asian business owners in Philadelphia, Delaware, Chester and Montgomery counties. Philly City Councilman David Oh and Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan are also among expected speakers.
It was about 11:35 a.m. Dec. 27 when Ly drove alone into the parking lot of the Woori bank, which caters to Korean and other Asian clients, on Front Street near Cheltenham Avenue.
Surveillance video showed the robbers parked in a shopping center across Front Street in a Volvo S60 or S80, with tinted windows and a sunroof, then immediately driving to the Woori lot after Ly arrived. Police said the vehicle then pulled up between Ly and the bank.
After giving over his money, Ly was shot three times in the leg and pelvis as he ran away, then collapsed in the bank entrance as another bullet whizzed by him into the bank.
Surveillance video captured a brief image of the shooter as he ran back into the Volvo, but did not show his face. Ly told police that the man was wearing a black covering across his face, was about 5 feet 7 and thin.
The shooter's two accomplices stayed in the Volvo, but Ly got a quick look at them. He told police that all three men were black. The robbers fled west in the Volvo on Cheltenham Avenue.
Jenny Ly, 51, said she and her husband came from rural China about 30 years ago. They have two daughters, ages 15 and 19.
She said they plan to switch banks, and move out of the area if they can. But for now, she said, "What are you going to do?" She said that she still has to run the deli, which the couple have owned for about six years. "You got to pay the bills."
Tipsters may call Cheltenham Police Detective Andrew Snyder at 215-885-1600, ext. 458.