Antioch, TN – The man who has been hailed as a hero for disarming a mass shooter after he gunned down four people at a Waffle House, is now raising money for the families of the victims, and his campaign has received nearly $100,000 in donations in the first 24 hours.
When a man entered the restaurant around 3:30 a.m. on Sunday and opened fire with an AR-15, James Shaw Jr. was the one rushed towards him and grabbed the rifle out of his hands while the gunman attempted to reload it. He then threw the gun over the counter and pushed suspect Travis Reinking out the door.
Shaw’s quick thinking arguably saved the lives of dozens of people, as it is unclear what Reinking planned to include in his rampage. When asked about what made him decide to confront the shooter, he told reporters, “I figured if I was going to die, he was going to have to work for it.”
Shaw is a 29-year-old father who works as an electrician in Nashville. He was taken to the hospital after one of the bullets fired by the gunman grazed his arm. He told the New York Times that while at the hospital, he was able to check on one of the victims and his 4-year-old daughter was the first thing on his mind when he met the victim’s father.
“We had a father moment when we saw each other,” Shaw said. “If you can imagine, actually, your child being there and meeting the person who saved their child, it was very touching.”
"I actually tried to count the hairs on her eyelashes just because I was like I almost didn't see you anymore": James Shaw Jr. held his 4-year-old daughter for the first time since he rushed the Waffle House shooter and ripped away his gun https://t.co/Lhu9849C6i pic.twitter.com/nCz9RunuC1
— CNN (@CNN) April 24, 2018
While many have praised Shaw as the hero that he is for stopping the shooting, he has humbly downplayed his heroic actions. “I’d rather you regard me as James, you know, just a regular person,” he said. “Because I feel like everybody can do pretty much what I did.”
Shaw said Reinking began shooting before he entered the restaurant, and after he walked in the door, he stopped to reload his gun. That was when Shaw took the opportunity to rush towards Reinking, grab his gun, and push him back out the door while the gunman angrily cursed at him.
“I acted in a blink of a second,” Shaw said. “When he reloaded his clip, that felt like 30 minutes. I looked at him, and he wasn’t looking at me. He just had the barrel down. It was like, ‘Do it now. Go now.’ I just took off.”
Shaw’s efforts have not stopped at disarming a gunman in the midst of a mass shooting or comforting loved ones. He has also started a GoFundMe page for the families of the victims, and it raised nearly $100,000 in the first 24 hours.
“My name is James Shaw Jr. I am creating this page to help the families of the victims from the Shooting that took place at Waffle House in Antioch, TN,” he wrote in the description. “Please take the time to donate as all of the proceeds will be given to the families. Thank you again for your generosity and blessings!”
The victims in the shooting have been identified as:
- Taurean C. Sanderlin, 29, a Waffle House employee of five years from Goodlettsville, Tennessee
- Joe R. Perez, 20, a patron and Nashville resident
- Akilah Dasilva, 23, a resident of Antioch who was at the Waffle House with his girlfriend and brother
- DeEbony Groves, 21, a senior at Belmont University Nashville who was majoring in social work.
As The Free Thought Project has reported, suspected gunman Travis Reinking was finally caught by police on Monday after more than 24 hours on the run. His record consists of a number of encounters with police, which included an interview with the FBI last year.
Reinking was arrested by Secret Service agents when he was caught entering a restricted area of the White House during a trip to Washington D.C. in July 2017. While officials claimed there was no evidence at the time to show that he posed a danger to himself or others, and the misdemeanor charge of “unlawful entry” was dismissed after he completed community service, the incident led to an investigation by the FBI.
After conducting an interview with Reinking, the FBI ordered police to confiscate his guns and his firearms licenses were revoked. The local sheriff acknowledged that Reinking clearly suffers from mental health issues, and police let his father take possession of the guns as long as he promised to “keep the weapons secure and out of the possession of Travis.” It appears that Reinking once again gained access to an AR-15, which is the weapon he reportedly used in the shooting at the Waffle House.
While James Shaw Jr. has attempted to play off his heroic actions as something any citizen would do, the fact is that it is not every day a person is grazed by a bullet and still musters up the bravery to confront and disarm the shooter. Shaw is a hero and his actions have set an incredible example.
Click here to donate to the GoFundMe page for the families of the victims in the shooting.