Updated: December 24, 2019 07:13 PM
Created: December 24, 2019 12:46 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — An armed robbery happened Monday night at the People's Choice Kitchen on Brooks Avenue in Rochester, but it’s already back open.
The community came out to Thurston Road and Brooks Avenue on Tuesday to support owner Evangela Stanley, known affectionately around the community as “Van”.
Some people came with monetary gifts for her. Some people, like county legislator Ernest Flagler, came to help clean up. Other judges and other elected officials, like Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, came by first thing on Tuesday morning after hearing the news.
The Monday robbery happened as Stanley was closing. Around 7:30 p.m., she says a man forced his way into the restaurant.
Stanley says she screamed. A young man named Darnell Wilson, who routinely comes by to check on her was in the restaurant, and he jumped in and fought off the attacker.
Stanley ran away and called 911. She says he saved her life.
"He let two shots off and then we starting fighting again going through the window, basically got the gun from him and fought him off with that and then he left," Wilson said.
She also says nothing will stop her from doing what she’s been doing for 18 years in the community, including her efforts this year to allow customers to pay only what they can afford for a meal.
“I love interacting with my community, I love serving the community,” she says. “I have a lot of great customers. Pay what you can, which is what I’ve been doing for the whole month...which is letting people pay $3, $4, whatever pay what you can afford to pay for a meal.”
“We have a great community and I was not closing because of this."
There is still no word on her attacker. Police say this was an attempted robbery and they are looking for at least one and possibly multiple people who were involved in the crime.
Meanwhile, Stanley says she will be open until around 4 p.m. on Tuesday.
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