After 10 days on life support, Ricci died June 7 at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center. His family buried him on Tuesday. His killer remains at large.
While police continue their hunt, those closest to Ricci are struggling with their own pain. Ricci's fiancee, JoAnn DelGiorno, 37, talked openly yesterday about the plans they once had.
She said they had just purchased a home next door to her mother, Marie DelGiorno, 67, in the 1800 block of South Camac Street and were renovating it. The first mortgage payment hadn't even been made.
``What hurts me the most is that he won't have a father,'' said DelGiorno, as Salvatore clung to her during an interview at her mother's house. ``This has turned our lives upside down.
``I can't cry in front of the baby,'' she said. ``But I think he knows Mommy is sad. He was with his Daddy every day, and suddenly, he's not around.''
On the night of the slaying, DelGiorno said, the three of them were watching The Fox and the Hound when Ricci got up to get milk and cookies.
``He noticed there wasn't much milk left in the jug,'' she said. ``Instead of taking it, he decided to save it for the baby. Then he left to go to the corner store to buy some more.''
It was about 10 p.m. when Ricci got into his blue Ford truck and headed toward a 7-Eleven four blocks away at 10th Street and Snyder Avenue.
Police gave this account of what may have happened next:
Ricci had just parked his truck in front of the 7-Eleven when he saw a young man brandishing a gun. The gunman was pounding on the window of a car parked nearby. The gunman was screaming, ``Are you trying to run me over?'' Two men were inside the car.
Ricci got out of his truck and approached the gunman from behind, to put him in a bear hug.
``He was about to intervene and be a peacemaker,'' said Homicide Sgt. Alex Strong. ``That's when the other guy shot him.''
Then, Strong said, the gunman fired at a third man, striking him in the groin as he came out of the store to rejoin his companions in the car. He was treated and released.
The gunman fled on foot.
Back home, DelGiorno couldn't figure out what was taking so long.
``I started getting worried around 10:30 p.m.,'' she said, ``so I beeped him. I still didn't hear from him.''
At 10:45 p.m., DelGiorno said, she received a call from the chaplain at the University of Pennsylvania.
He told her Ricci had been shot and was about to undergo surgery.
For the next 10 days, DelGiorno shuttled back and forth between visiting Ricci and taking care of her son. Ricci, with his stomach ruptured, was heavily sedated and placed on a ventilator.
``On Friday morning [June 7] around 4 a.m., I got a call from the surgeon and he told me they had to perform surgery again,'' she said, brushing away tears.
``His blood pressure was bottoming out.''
Two hours later, Ricci's kidneys failed, his lungs filled with fluid, and his blood pressure dipped too low to place him on a dialysis machine.
``That was the hardest day for me,'' she said. ``I actually watched life leave him. I kept going in and out of the room and, at some point, I just let go and went home.''
Ricci and DelGiorno had met five years ago through a cousin.
``He could make anybody laugh,'' DelGiorno said, as she thumbed through photo albums showing Ricci clowning around. ``He made me laugh every day.''
When she was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, DelGiorno said, Ricci never left her bedside at the hospital. They were to marry in the fall. She had picked out a wedding dress.
``That's kind of why we didn't marry earlier,'' she said. ``I had all these medical complications, and I wanted to be well myself before I could take care of him and the baby.''
DelGiorno said Ricci's parents were deceased, and he eagerly adopted her large family. Ricci became especially close to DelGiorno's brother, Michael, 28. Both were general contractors who took pride in their work.
At Ricci's funeral, Michael DelGiorno posted a sign made of flowers above the open coffin. The yellow carnations were shaped like two hands. Above the flowers was the inscription, ``Hands of Gold.''
``He also had a heart of gold,'' said Peter Vitagliano, 42, JoAnn DelGiorno's brother-in-law. ``He would give you the shirt off his back. Whenever you needed a hand, he was there for you.''
Ricci is buried in an unmarked grave next to his parents at Sts. Peter and Paul Cemetery in Marple, Delaware County.
DelGiorno said their son filled a particular void.
``Michael missed his parents terribly,'' DelGiorno said.
``They were the only family he had left. So when the baby came along we knew we would name him Salvatore after his father. He loved that baby so much.''