Waffle House Patron Hailed as a Hero After Ripping Gun Out of Shooter's Hands

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Early Sunday morning, James Shaw Jr. had no thought of heroics, only of getting some breakfast at Waffle House after a night of partying.

But all that changed at 3:25 a.m. when a man identified as Travis Reinking, 29, of Morton, Illinois, allegedly opened fire in the small restaurant, killing four and injuring four others.

Shaw attacked the gunman, ending the shooting.

“He saw the gunman looking at his rifle. At that point, the shots had stopped,” said Metro Nashville police spokesman Don Aaron, according to CNN. “So he decided to rush the gunman, actually wrestled that assault rifle away, tossed it over the counter. At that point, the gunman then fled.”

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“He is the hero here, and no doubt he saved many lives by wrestling the gun away and then tossing it over the counter and prompting the (gun)man to leave,” Aaron said.

Shaw, 29, downplayed his actions as being heroic.

Do you consider James Shaw Jr. to be a hero?
“I don’t really know, when everyone said that (of being a hero), it feels selfish. I was just trying to get myself out. I saw the opportunity and pretty much took it,” said Shaw, according to The Tennessean.

Shaw was treated for a gunshot wound, but was released and attended church with his family. Mayor David Briley also attended church with Shaw.

Shaw recalled the scene.

“I remember I was like ‘Dang, I’m basically in a barrel,’” Shaw said. “There is no place for me to go.”

Shaw said that when the shooter, who was wearing a bomber jacket and nothing else, was reloading, he saw his chance.

“When he came in, I distinctively remember thinking that he is going to have to work for this kill,” Shaw said. “I had a chance to stop him and thankfully I stopped him.”

Shaw said there was a brief struggle.

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“I grabbed the gun and kept it down. He had one hand on it. I pulled it away and threw it over the bar,” he said.

“Once you’re in that position and you see there’s nothing else for you to do, there’s a brick wall, and he’s standing there with a gun. You have to react,” Shaw told WSMV.

Shaw said he doesn’t want to be treated as a hero.

“While I was in hospital, a girl that was there said, ‘You saved my life,'” he said. “I didn’t do it to be a hero.”

As of Sunday afternoon, police were still searching for Reinking.

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Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack can be reached at jackwritings1@gmail.com.
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