Sunday’s Hero: James Shaw, Jr. [VIDEO]

Sunday’s Hero: James Shaw, Jr. [VIDEO]

Sunday’s Hero: James Shaw, Jr. [VIDEO]

The hunt is still on for an apparent psychopath with a long criminal history who killed four people this morning at a Nashville, Tennessee Waffle House. The fact that only four people are dead is to the credit of this hero: James Shaw, Jr., age 29.


The details of this story continue to be absolutely incomprehensible and in flux, but what we do know is that Shaw tackled the shooter and got the AR-15 that he was using away from him.

Police are calling James Shaw Jr. a hero for saving lives in the busy restaurant, but the 29-year-old Nashville resident said he only made a split-second decision to challenge the shooter and called it a “selfish” act to avoid being killed.

Shaw said at a news conference Sunday he had spent an evening out at a nightclub and entered the restaurant minutes ahead of the gunman. He said he and another friend were seated at a counter when he heard gunshots, thinking at first that a stack of freshly washed plates had crashed down.

Then, he said, restaurant workers scattered and he turned and saw a body near the front door as the gunman burst in. It was then he realized he had heard gunshots.

“I looked back and I saw a person lying on the ground right at the entrance of the door, then I jumped and slid … I went behind a push door — a swivel door,” Shaw said. “He shot through that door; I’m pretty sure he grazed my arm. At that time I made up my mind … that he was going to have to work to kill me. When the gun jammed or whatever happened, I hit him with the swivel door.”

Shaw said it was then that they began wrestling, ignoring his own pain as he grabbed the hot barrel of the AR-15 weapon.

“He was kind of cussing while we were wrestling around. When I finally got the gun he was cussing like I was in the wrong,” he said. “It wasn’t any kind of talking between us; I just knew I just had to get that away from him.”

Of the gun, he added: “I grabbed it from him and threw it over the countertop and I just took him with me out the entrance.” Shaw said after getting the man out of the Waffle House, he then ran one way and saw the suspect jogging or trotting another way.

Shaw’s right hand was bandaged at the news conference. He also said he had an apparent bullet graze on one elbow and fell and hit his knee as he escaped, landing in the hospital for a time early Sunday. He added he didn’t see himself as a hero, but feels certain he wouldn’t be alive if he hadn’t succeeded.

“I didn’t really fight that man to save everyone else. That may not be a popular thing,” said Shaw, who was raised in the area, went to Tennessee State University and now works as a wireless technician for AT&T. “I took the gun so I could get myself out” of the situation. But he said he was glad to save other lives as well.

Shaw only had minor injuries, for which his family is grateful.


We can all be grateful that he stepped up in a crucial moment and chose to confront the evil happening right in front of him. Despite what Shaw says, that was a heroic act.

In the meantime, we here at Victory Girls send our prayers to the families of the victims. And we pray that law enforcement finds this killer quickly and stops him before he hurts anyone else.

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6 Comments
  • Kate says:

    I love it when the good guys get the coverage!

  • Casey M says:

    Bravery is doing what you need to do, when you need to do it, without being paralyzed by your fear.

  • Romey says:

    This man is a true hero. He took on a person who was armed and willing to shoot, without a firearm himself. He is also honest. He said he wanted to save himself. His actions, in no way endangered others, and the result surely saved many more. God Bless James Shaw Jr.!

  • Brian P.T. Blake says:

    Impression here is that good men and women like Mr. Shaw rise to resolve such an extraordinary situation by necessity. Brave and humble in the best sense, they think of themselves as doing what anyone else would do. Those of us, however, who may not have been so challenged, and who are unsure how we would have reacted, recognize a hero when we see one. Here’s to you, Mr. Shaw! You make us proud.

  • Bill Cook says:

    Of course his mama is proud of him. We all should be.

  • Casey says:

    I do wish media talking heads would quit referring to AR-15 rifles as “assault rifles.”

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