The man who wrestled the gun away from the Nashville Waffle House shooting suspect said Sunday if he were going to die, the gunman would “have to work to kill me.”
Police are calling James Shaw Jr. a hero for saving lives in the crowded restaurant, but the 29-year-old Nashville resident said he only made a split-second decision to do all he could to challenge the shooter and save himself from 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’s arrival. He said he and another friend were seated at a high counter when he heard gunshots. Shaw said he had just seen restaurant workers stacking up freshly washed plates and thought at first that plates had crashed down.
During an interview with Fox News, Shaw revealed a sobering thought that ran through his mind as he decided to take on a criminal armed with a rifle, using only his bare hands.
“If it was going to come down to it, he was going to work to kill me,” Shaw recalled saying to himself during the incident.
“I saw the Waffle House employees scatter. Then I looked back and I saw a person laying on the ground, right at the entrance of the door,” Shaw said. “Then I jumped, pretty much, and slid from the table top to the entrance of the door. And I think he let off some shots through the glass.
“When he proceeded to come in, I actually went behind, it’s like a push door, swivel door… he shot through that door, and I’m pretty sure he grazed my arm,” he explained. The young man was treated at a hospital for minor injuries.
“And it was at that time that I kind of made up my mind, because there’s no way to lock that door … that if it was going to come down to it, he was going to have to work to kill me,” Shaw said.
“So at the time that he was either reloading, or the gun jammed, or whatever happened … is when I ran through the swivel door, I hit him with the swivel door … we were scuffling,” Shaw recalled. “I managed to get him, with one hand on the gun, and then I grabbed it from him, and I threw it over the counter top.”
James Shaw, the hero of the Waffle House shooting, was eating with a friend when the shooting began.
He says he heard the shots stop, so he moved. Shaw hit the shooter w/a door, wrestled him, got the gun out of his hands and threw it over the counter-top. pic.twitter.com/qCTwa48LUj
— Ellison Barber (@ellisonbarber) April 22, 2018
He added he didn’t see himself as a hero.
“I didn’t really fight that man to save everyone else. That may not be a popular thing,” Shaw said. “I took the gun so I could get myself out” of the situation. But tears welled in his eyes at the news conference, and he said he was glad he ended up saving other lives.
Waffle House CEO Walter Ehmer thanked Shaw at the news conference for his bravery.
James Shaw used the element of surprise to his advantage, and it worked to get the shooter off guard allowing him to persevere. It takes courage and a strong mindset. Well Done James Shaw! You’ve saved many from death and injury!
Alex D is a conservative journalist, who covers all issues of importance for conservatives. He writes for Conservative US, Red State Nation, Defiant America, and Supreme Insider. He brings attention and insight from what happens in the White House to the streets of American towns, because it all has an impact on our future, and the country left for our children. Exposing the truth is his ultimate goal, mixed with wit where it’s appropriate, and feels that journalism shouldn’t be censored. Join him & let’s spread the good word!