James Shaw Jr, a 29-year old father was sitting in a Waffle House having a meal with a friend when his life took a dramatic turn. A gunman, suspect Travis Reinking walked inside with an AR-15 and began shooting. Shaw jumped behind a nearby door, receiving a minor gunshot to his arm on the way. It was while he was hiding behind the door that Reinking's gun jammed. Shaw had only a moment to make a decision. He told reporters at a press conference how it all went down:
It was about that time that I made up my mind ― because there was no way to lock that door ― that if it was going to come down to it, he was going to have to work to kill me. I rushed him and it actually worked out to my favor.
As Shaw tackled Reinking, he was badly burned by the heat coming off the gun. Still he persisted and managed to wrangle the gun away from Reinking, throwing it over a counter. He then forced Reinking out of the restaurant where the shooter took off on foot.
Reporters wanted to know if Shaw had formal training, to which Shaw joked:
Yeah, I knew I had it in me. I haven't had any specific combat training. I just fight my daughter every night, so I can put her to bed.
For all the attention Shaw is receiving he doesn't see himself as a hero. Instead he choose to remain humble and honest, saying:
I’m not a hero, I’m just a regular person, and I think anybody could have done what I did if they were just put into that kind of cage. I just wanted to live. I didn’t really fight that man to save everybody else. I know that may not be a really popular thing but I’m going to be honest.
Although Shaw may not see himself as a hero, people are praising the man for his act of bravery.
Meet James Shaw, Jr. - the hero who single handedly tackled and disarmed the mass shooter at the Waffle House in Tennessee.— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) April 22, 2018
This man put his body on the line, snatched the AR-15 away from him, and saved so many lives. https://t.co/xe8kmp052m pic.twitter.com/KW9RB4KlOn
James Shaw Jr. rushed the Waffle House shooter, disarmed him and threw the AR-15 assault rifle he was carrying over the counter.— Michael Skolnik (@MichaelSkolnik) April 22, 2018
James, you are an American hero.
We thank you for your courage and bravery and for saving lives. pic.twitter.com/t8rEzr3H82
Meet James Shaw —29 years old, #HBCU grad, member of Alpha Phi Alpha & #TSU alum. He’s an American hero who singlehandedly disarmed a gunman in the #Antiochshooting. He later went to the hospital to treat his injuries & was at church by 10. Thank you #JamesShawJr #GunReformNow pic.twitter.com/Fayxt3fF2Z— Kristen Clarke (@KristenClarkeJD) April 22, 2018
The Mayor of Nashville gave Shaw a shoutout.
Shannon Watts posted a link to a GoGundMe Shaw had set up for other victims of the shooting.
So far the campaign has surpassed it's $15,ooo goal. People are also praising this act of kindness.
You can see the press conference Shaw gave below.
Thank you James for your courage and kindness.