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Carnegie Medal presented to Rochester man who thwarted attack at local restaurant

Darnell Wilson -Carnegie Medal
City of Rochester
Darnell Wilson Jr., receiving a Carnegie Medal from Mayor Malik Evans for Wilson's actions in 2019 when he confronted an armed robber at People's Choice Kitchen in the 19th Ward.

Rochester Mayor Malik Evans on Tuesday presented a Carnegie Medal to a local resident for his heroic actions a few years ago.

Darnell Wilson Jr. was honored for helping fend off an armed robber at People’s Choice Kitchen in December 2019.

City officials note that restaurant owner Evangela Stanley was getting ready to lock up the business for the night, when a man with a gun entered the restaurant. Two shots were fired, but no one was hit by the bullets.

Wilson pushed the man through the restaurant’s front window and out onto the sidewalk. Later, that suspect was charged with crimes related to the incident.

The Carnegie Medal is given to a civilian who risks death or serious physical injury while trying to save someone’s life.

Wilson’s award was announced with 15 others earlier this year, and the actual medal was presented by Mayor Evans on Tuesday.

Carnegie Medal for Darnell Wilson
City of Rochester
The Carnegie Medal presented on 11/1/22 to Rochester resident Darnell Wilson by Mayor Malik Evans.

Wilson was humble about winning the Carnegie Medal, and told WXXI News that he knows about all the good things Stanley has done for the community and he just wanted to help.

“To me she’s an amazing person, she feeds homeless people,” noted Wilson. “I’ve actually seen this. There’s a guy over there now, she feeds him, and when he comes by for a meal, don’t expect money from him. And a lot of customers come in, sometimes they’re a lot shorter (in money offered) than what prices are, and she still makes sure they eat.”

People’s Choice Kitchen has been owned by Stanley for 18 years and is known for its “pay what you can afford” promotions that allow customers to pay whatever they can for a meal.

Mayor Evans said that Wilson and Stanley “are both heroes in their own way and the city of Rochester is a better place with them in it.”

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.