A man who disarmed a shooter who used an assault rifle to kill four people at a Tennessee Waffle House on Sunday is being called a hero for putting his own life in danger to prevent more senseless killings.
James Shaw Jr., 29, told Tennessean.com that he and his friends had ended up at the Antioch, Tennessee, Waffle House early Sunday morning after leaving a frat party just a couple miles down the road. It was only about five minutes after they arrived that a white man who was naked, save for a green jacket, entered the eatery and opened fire, claiming four lives and injuring four others.
The gunman shot seven people, but was thwarted by Shaw Jr., who wrestled his weapon away from him when he needed to reload and threw it over the counter. The gunman escaped on foot.
"I don’t really know, when everyone said that (of being a hero), it feels selfish,” Shaw Jr. told Tennessean.com. “I was just trying to get myself out. I saw the opportunity and pretty much took it."
Shaw, who sustained an injury to his elbow as well as other abrasions, according to the outlet, said he felt a bullet graze him, at which point he'd try to run toward the bathroom. He worried though, that there was no escape for him or anyone else.
"I remember I was like ‘Dang, I’m basically in a barrel,’" Shaw Jr. said. "There is no place for me to go."
Local police have so far identified one person of interest in the shooting: Travis Reinking, a 29-year-old white man from Illinois who'd last been seen walking alongside a highway in the nude. Authorities are still in pursuit of him.
"It’s a tragic day for our city anytime people lose their lives at the hands of a gunman," Nashville Mayor David Briley wrote on Twitter of the morning's tragic events. "My heart goes out to the families & friends of every person who was killed or wounded in this morning’s shooting. I know all of their lives will be forever changed by this devastating crime."
“When he came in, I distinctively remember thinking that he is going to have to work for this kill,” Shaw Jr. said. "I had a chance to stop him and thankfully I stopped him."
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