Rochester man receives Carnegie Medal for civilian heroism

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) – The Carnegie Medal is North America’s highest honor for civilian heroism. Sixteen recipients were chosen for this year’s Carnegie Hero Fund Commission—including Rochester’s very own Darnell Wilson.

He was nominated for the actions he took during an attempted robbery at the People’s Choice Kitchen restaurant back in December 2019.

News10NBC talked to Wilson about the award.

According to the Carnegie website, the award is given to those who enter extreme danger while saving or attempting to save the life of others.

"Honestly it hasn’t hit me yet, but as I say I feel honored, really honored," said Wilson who is not only soft-spoken but truly humbled by the honor.

Wilson was instrumental in stopping a robbery at the restaurant. Rochester Police released the actual video of the robbery in progress with the armed gunman. Wilson says his instincts kicked in as he sprang into action.

"I wasn’t scared at the time even when the shot went off," said Wilson. He continued, "I wasn’t even scared. I just thought about my son. You know make sure everybody in this restaurant was safe."

Wilson was able to push the suspect later identified as Kashbi Sanders through a plate glass window, and out of the restaurant. With the help of another restaurant employee, they were able to disarm Sanders before he ran off. Owner Evangela Stanley, known to everyone as "Van," who was also in the restaurant counts her blessings.

"I wasn’t supposed to make it out of there, and yeah so I thank God for Darnell. He saved my life," said Stanley.

After watching a "Carnegie Heroes Award" segment on 60 Minutes, Stanley decided to nominate Wilson. Stanley says the process took over 1-year.

"He had to release his medical records. RPD had to release the camera footage to show the incident here, and once we received that call I was like oh my God, he won, and I know he should’ve won," said Stanley.

During the wait, life for the father of two went on as normal.

"I didn’t forget about it, but I kind of thought I wasn’t going to get nominated," said Wilson. He finished by saying, "It’s been a year you know, it’s like okay I’m not going to get nominated for it so when I got the phone call, it was a very good special feeling."

Wilson, as well as the other recipients, or their survivors will not only receive a Carnegie Hero Fund Commission Coin but will also receive a financial grant.