PITTSBURGH -- While NHL hockey won't return for a few months, Penguins president/CEO David Morehouse made a pretty incredible save Saturday as protests outside of PPG Paints Arena turned violent.
After witnessing a group of protesters beating up KDKA-TV cameraman Ian Smith -- throwing him to the ground, stomping him in the head and smashing his camera to pieces -- Morehouse emerged from the Highmark Gate along Centre Ave., near the statue of team co-owner Mario Lemieux.
Mr. Morehouse located Smith and dragged him inside to safety before he was transported to Mercy Hospital, with Mr. Smith tweeting a picture of himself giving a bloody thumbs up from the back of the ambulance.
That tweet set off a chain reaction in the KDKA community, the nexus of those conversations becoming Larry Richert, a longtime anchor and reporter on the station and currently a morning show host on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA-AM.
"(Smith) posted that picture, and I called him," Mr. Richert explained by phone late Saturday night. "He answered. He actually was on a stretcher at UPMC Mercy Hospital, waiting to get a CT scan. He said he was beat up and emotionally shaken by people saying they were going to kill him in the middle of a mob scene.
"I said, 'Who saved you?' He didn't know. He said, 'I wish I could find them. I want to thank them for saving my life because I felt my life was in danger. Like, real danger. I could have been killed.'"
Later, after some additional reporting, Mr. Richert figured out that it was indeed Mr. Morehouse, a process that required a second conversation with another veteran KDKA employee, Paul Martino.
Mr. Martino was with Mr. Smith, reporting on the demonstrations against police brutality after the death of George Floyd, though the aggressors appeared to have more interest in beating up Mr. Smith and destroying evidence.
Mr. Martino confirmed to Mr. Richert that it was Mr. Morehouse making the save, and the Penguins later did as much to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Mr. Morehouse declined comment through a team spokesman. Neither Mr. Martino nor Mr. Smith were permitted to comment, per company policy.