The hero’s name is James Shaw, and he risked his own life when he “saw the opportunity” to take down the gunman and disarm him from harming others.
Around 3 a.m. on Sunday morning, Shaw said he was at the Waffle House when the suspect, Travis Reinking, reportedly opened fire outside the restaurant and fatally shot four people.
Shaw said he was hiding near a bathroom while the bullets were hailing from Reinking’s assault rifle. He said as the shooter inched closer toward his location, he knew he had the opportunity to take him down before anyone else was hurt or killed.
Not concerned with protecting himself and fueled by the desire to save others, Shaw said he tackled Reinking, wrestled him to the floor, and snatched the gun away from him. He threw the gun over the bar area so Reinking couldn’t get to it while they were fighting on the floor.
“I was just trying to get myself out. I saw the opportunity and pretty much took it,” Shaw told the Tennessean.
Shaw said a bullet grazed his elbow while he was fighting the shooter, but said he didn’t sustain any serious injuries during the scuffle.
“I figured if I was going to die, he was going to have to work with it,” Shaw said. “He was gonna have to work to kill me.”
Shaw said after he tossed what police confirmed to be an AR-15 rifle over the counter, Reinking took off running from the Waffle House. He is still believed to be on the loose and is considered to be armed and dangerous.
As many are praising Shaw and calling him a hero, which he is, but the 29-year-old humbly said he doesn’t feel like a hero.
During a news conference after he was treated and released from the hospital, Shaw said he was just trying to stay alive in the moment and help others. Shaw, who has a 4-year-old daughter, said he “saw the opportunity” to apprehend Reinking and did just that. His efforts were heroic, and he likely saved many more lives on Sunday by taking the gun away from the psychopath.
When asked how he felt about the entire situation and his actions, Shaw said it hasn’t hit him yet. He said it felt like something out of a movie, and that he was just glad he wasn’t harmed. He said he hated that Reinking killed four innocent people.
While police are still searching for Reinking, many agree that Shaw is a hero and deserves praise for his incredible actions to snatch the gun away from a deranged man who clearly wanted to harm many others.
Watch his comments below with CBS: