Police say a 29-year-old man saved many lives when he confronted the gunman during the deadly mass shooting at Waffle House early Sunday morning.
Four people were killed during the attack, and four others were injured.
According to the Metro Nashville Police Department, James Shaw Jr. saw the suspect wrestling with the gun and interfered with him, taking it from him and tossing it behind the counter.
After a night out in Nashville, Shaw and a friend first went to the Waffle House on Bell Road, but when they saw it was too crowded, they headed to the location on Murfreesboro Pike instead. They had no idea what they were about to witness.
Shaw said he heard a loud noise and initially thought one of the cooks had dropped a dish when he saw a body lying at the entrance of the restaurant.
Shaw ran toward the bathroom and was grazed by a bullet in his upper arm when the gunman shot through the glass in the door.
"The bathroom, it's only one way in and one way out, and I was like, he's gonna have to work for this kill, for me personally. I got a head full of steam, ran toward the door and worked out like I wanted it to," he said.
The gunman started having issues with restocking, which is when Shaw ran through the door as hard as he could and hit him with the door, forcing him to drop the gun.
The two men wrestled until Shaw was able to grab the AR-15 and throw it over the counter. Shaw said he ran the gunman out of the restaurant before going inside to check on the other victims.
Despite his quick thinking and ability to quickly jump into action, Shaw said he was scared but had no other choice.
"I have a 4-year-old daughter, And that came to mind probably after the fact. The only thing I was thinking was save yourself and get the gun away from him," Shaw said.
Shaw said he was faced with two options: Fight or be killed.
"Once you're in that position, there's nothing else for you to do," Shaw said.
Police are crediting Shaw for stopping the violence before any more people were killed.
"The real definition of a hero is someone who knows the danger they are facing, and yet, takes that action," said Metro Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson.
Anyone will tell you Shaw is a hero, except for himself.
"I did what I think most people would've done in that situation if you actually think about it," he said. "Once you're in that position and you see there's nothing else for you to do, there's a brick wall, and he's standing there with a gun. You have to react."
Shaw's daughter is currently in Chicago, and he said he can't wait to see her when she returns on Monday.
MNPD spokesman Don Aaron said Shaw's actions were similar to those of Robert Engle during the Antioch church shooting last year.
Shaw also burned his hand while trying to grab the gun. After getting released from the hospital, Shaw went to church with his family and friends.
"I'm not over it, but it helped me," he said.
Shaw set up a GoFundMe to raise money for the other victims of the shooting. Click here to view the GoFundMe page.
A New York man who was moved by Shaw's heroism has set up a GoFundMe account in Shaw's honor. He wrote, "I normally don't get involved directly in these matters, but James' grace has inspired me to start this page to give him the support I feel he deserves. According to news reports, James has a 4-year-old daughter. Perhaps this money can be used for her college fund or some other education-related expense. But I'd be just as happy if James used some of this money to take his family on a nice vacation." Click here for more information.
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