Waffle House hero says he was just trying to stay alive during shooting

A man who wrestled away an AR-15 from the shooter who sprayed bullets at a Tennessee Waffle House, killing four and injuring several others, said he was just trying to stay alive, according to a report.

“I don’t really know, when everyone said that (of being a hero), it feels selfish,” James Shaw Jr., who was credited with saving many lives, told the Tennessean.

“I was just trying to get myself out. I saw the opportunity and pretty much took it,” he said.

Shaw rushed suspect Travis Reinking, 29, disarmed him of the notorious assault rifle and tossed it over the counter, Metro Nashville police spokesman Don Aaron told reporters.

Shaw said he was at a fraternity house party early Sunday before heading to a Waffle House on Bell Road in Antioch with some pals. They left soon after because it was too packed, he said.

The group decided to head over to another Waffle House on Murfreesboro Road, a couple of miles away, arriving about 3:20 a.m. Moments later, bullets started flying.

Shaw said he could not recall how many shots were fired before he was grazed by a bullet and jumped toward the bathroom.

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

As the suspect came through the door, he needed to reload, giving Shaw a chance to pounce.

“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.”

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

Shaw said the suspect, wearing only a green bomber jacket, walked away quickly. Soon after, Shaw flagged down some motorists to call 911 before he was taken to a hospital.

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


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