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Haven from homicide: Downtown Appleton pizzeria manager shares what he saw

pizzas at Sal's
Posted at 5:49 PM, Dec 26, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-26 18:49:45-05
  • Nick Elmazi, the manager of Sal's Pizza, shares what he saw on the night that witnesses sought safety from the scene of a shooting 220 feet from his store.
  • The shooting took place early the morning of Christmas Eve.
  • Anyone with information about the suspect is asked to contact Appleton police (number and links below).

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

Appleton police are still investigating a homicide that happened in downtown in the early hours of Christmas Eve.

I'm Darby McCarthy, and I stopped back by the area to hear from one man whose business was open when the deadly shooting happened.

“I was shocked, you know? It's something that you don't expect.”

Nick Elmazi is the manager of Sal's Pizza downtown, which is just about 220 feet from the spot where a 22-year-old was shot and killed early Sunday morning.

"We saw a police presence and I kind of walked outside to see what was going on, and I saw that they had blocked off the whole corner."

Elmazi describes the scene as tragic and frenzied.

"People were scared. You know what I mean? People were kind of running around; they didn't know what to do. They didn’t know exactly what was going on."

"In the moment, you know, adrenaline's going, people are out drinking, and it's kind of a big mix."

He said some of the people who had run from the chaos shared images of what happened.

"And next thing you know, people were coming in, they had videos of, you know, the shooting — or pictures, at least. Some of them were kind of graphic."

But he says his pizzeria was able to provide a space for some of the witnesses where they could gather together and take time to process everything.

"Some people stayed in here. They really didn't want to leave."

The next day, after more time had passed, Elmazi says he started seeing more social media posts as shock wore off and word spread.

But he says that this doesn't define the downtown scene.

"We don't have those kinds of problems here. You know what I mean? It's very rare. It is."

No arrests have yet been made in this case, but if you have information related to this incident, you can click this link to go to the Appleton tips website, call 920-832-5540, or email