Camden High School football player honored for actions during shooting at playoff game

Trish Hartman Image
Friday, December 13, 2019
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Camden High School football player honored for actions during shooting. Trish Hartman reports during Action News at 5pm on December 12, 2019.

CAMDEN, New Jersey (WPVI) -- A Camden High School football player was honored for his selfless actions during a shooting at the Pleasantville-Camden playoff game last month.

It's a day that will likely stay with senior Kenny Smith forever.

Officials say in the midst of the chaos, Camden's starting center stayed with a little girl, keeping her safe.

"I got out the gate safely," he explained. "I saw the little girl just crying. I told her to 'get underneath of the bleachers, everything's going to be OK.'"

On Thursday, Kenny Smith was honored by the Camden County Sheriff for his selflessness.

"He went running out and saw the little girl there by herself. He protects that child until they find the child's parents," said Camden County Sheriff Gilbert "Whip" Wilson.

"I didn't think she ever seen nothing like that but recently her brother had got shot. So it reminded her of that. So I just needed to be there to comfort her. Because sometimes I need someone to comfort me. Everybody needs someone there to comfort them," said Smith.

Smith says the girl's father told his coach about his brave actions at Lincoln Financial Field, when the playoff game was concluded the following week.

He says he wishes the shooting, which took the life of a young boy, had never happened. He attributes his protective instincts to his father and playing football.

"I just go out every day and try and give it my all whether it's school, football, or just being a good person in life," said Smith.

Kenny says he plans to go to college next year. He'd love to play football but he also wants to study business or music.

Sheriff Wilson says he has a future with the sheriff's department if he wants to go into law enforcement.