Rochester man awarded highest civilian medal, honored for stopping restaurant robbery

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The owner of People’s Choice Kitchen gave free food to the community over the weekend, while honoring the man who saved her life during an armed robbery in 2019.

Darnell Wilson has been awarded the Carnegie Medal which is the highest civilian honor, after he fought off a gunman at People’s Choice Kitchen in December of 2019.

The owner of the restaurant, Evangela Stanley says Wilson was sent by God.

"My son had left two hours prior so thank god that god had my son leave and had Darnell enter to save me," Stanley said.

Stanley opened her restaurant to the community and offered free meals to celebrate heroes, "and Darnell is my number one hero,” she said.

“Darnell heard my cry for help, he intervened and I ran passed Darnell and he ran right to this guy and started fighting him for his life and I heard the first gunshot go off, Darnell was able to fight him and get the gun out of his hand,” Stanley explained as she relived those terrifying moments.

Wilson said getting the Carnegie Medal is very special to him.

"I feel honored, very honored,” Wilson said.

He said it feels good to be called a hero, but helping people is who he is. That it was his first instinct to run toward the danger. His fight with the gunman landed them both through one of the restaurants glass windows.

"It was God, it was someone with me during that time, I saw the glass when it came down on me and I didn’t feel anything,” Wilson said.

Within the next few months, Mayor Malik Evans will be having an award ceremony for Darnell, to give him the medal.