NASHVILLE (WCMH/AP) — Police in Nashville are crediting a Waffle House customer with stopping a gunman who burst into the restaurant with nothing but a green jacket on and began shooting people.
“Our hero in this matter is a 29-year-old man, a patron,” said Don Aaron with the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department.
“You had a citizen step up to intervene with an active shooter–and that’s what this man did. He is the hero here. And no doubt he saved many lives by wrestling the gun away and then tossing it over the counter, prompting the man to leave.”
Police identified the customer as 29-year-old James Shaw, Jr.
Shaw said he feels “selfish” thinking of himself as a hero.
He told the Tennessean in an interview that he was “just trying to get myself out. I saw the opportunity and pretty much took it.”
Shaw said he rushed the gunman, who police suspect is Travis Reinking of Illinois, as he was coming into the restaurant.
“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 grabbed the gun, he says, and threw it over the bar before pushing the suspect outside. He said he did not follow the gunman because he was afraid he may have another gun.
Shaw then said he flagged down drivers to call 911.
The newspaper said Shaw was grazed by a bullet, treated and released.
“When I was in the ambulance to hospital I kept thinking that I’m going to wake up and it’s not going to be real,” Shaw said. “It is something out a movie. I’m OK though, but I hate that it happened.”