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On Sunday morning, a gunman opened fire inside a Waffle House location in Antioch, Tennessee, killing four people and injuring at least two more. The situation could have been much worse if not for the intervention of a 29-year-old man named James Shaw Jr.
The gunman reportedly first fired shots in the Waffle House parking lot before entering the restaurant. When he stopped to reload his gun, Shaw approached him, wrestling the firearm from his control and tossing it behind the front counter, leading the shooter to flee the premises.
Shaw was wounded on his right forearms, just below the elbow, as he revealed in a photo taken from the hospital on Sunday. He also suffered burns to his hands, the result of having grabbed the barrel of the gunman’s rifle moments after it had been fired. He’s being hailed as a hero by many people on social media.
James Shaw Jr., 29, was identified as the man who charged the Waffle House killer and wrestled away his rifle. "He saved many lives," a police spokesman said. https://t.co/EIMy0PV6dA pic.twitter.com/DOLytCgrzf— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) April 22, 2018
This is the Waffle House hero, James Shaw Jr. He tackled the shooter and saved so many lives in the process. Thank you James. And thank you TriStar Southern Hills Medical Center for your wonderful doctors and nurses who quickly took care of his injuries. pic.twitter.com/kKORfI24G1— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) April 22, 2018
James Shaw Jr. was identified as the hero who helped stop the Waffle House shooter this morning. He says he doesn’t feel like a hero, which is exactly what you’d expect a real hero to say. https://t.co/0N08omw80u— Jon Henshaw (@henshaw) April 22, 2018
This is James Shaw. He's a hero. His hands are burned severely from grabbing the assault rifle used to kill four people inside a Nashville Waffle House. He likely saved dozens of lives pic.twitter.com/WV7KQlzA2R— Chris Conte (@chrisconte) April 22, 2018
James Shaw, Jr. deserves proper acknowledgment from the State of Tennessee for his act of heroism. James also deserves family time and mental health support so that he can begin to heal from such a dramatic event. He watched four people die.— Brian Sexton (@iamspreadluv) April 22, 2018
If America is smart it will make James Shaw more famous than the name of the Waffle House shooter.— Carmine Sabia (@CarmineSabia) April 22, 2018
This is the hero in the Antioch, TN Waffle House shooting. James Shaw Jr., 29, showing his injury as well as a bandaged hand. Shaw was able to wrestle an AR-15 style rifle away from the shooter. pic.twitter.com/AeLoZlONS2— Carol Costello (@CarolHLN) April 22, 2018
A survivor of the shooting, Chuck Cordero, told local CBS affiliate WTVF that Shaw’s actions almost surely saved many lives. One of Cordero’s friends was shot by the gunman.
“So I don’t know who this guy is,” Cordero reportedly said. “I talked to him afterwards and told him, ‘You are a hero, man,’ because had that guy reloaded there was plenty more people in that restaurant that probably could have not made it home this morning.”
Shaw himself spoke with KTVF on Sunday, after receiving treatment for his injuries. He said that he ran into the Waffle House to disarm the shooter when he tried to reload, sensing that it would be the only possible window to take action.
This is James Shaw. He's a hero. His hands are burned from grabbing the barrel of a gun used to kill four people at a Nashville Waffle House. He says he's sorry he couldn't save more people. pic.twitter.com/QXIevQLfM1— Chris Conte (@chrisconte) April 22, 2018
It’s clear that the police also regard Shaw as a life-saving hero. A spokesperson for the Metro Nashville police said as much on Sunday, as detailed by CNN.
“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,” the spokesperson said.
On Sunday, police were still searching for the suspect in the shooting, Travis Reinking.
Waffle House: 6 persons shot, 4 fatally (3 died at the scene, 1 at the hospital). The 2 others are being treated at Vanderbilt. Search continuing for Travis Reinking. pic.twitter.com/ioR7cVq899— Metro Nashville PD (@MNPDNashville) April 22, 2018
Chris Tognotti is a frequent contributor for the Daily Dot. He’s a news and current events writer based out of Berkeley, California, and a co-host of the podcast Now We Know. While he specializes in domestic politics and opinion writing, he’s also savvy on sports, video games, and film.