James Shaw Jr., 29, the man who heroically wrestled an assault rifle away from a murderous gunman at a Nashville-area Waffle House over the weekend, has started a GoFundMe page to raise money for the families of the victims of the shooting.
The tragic event that sparked this act of kindness occurred on Sunday when the alleged murderer, Travis Reinking (29), opened fire at a Waffle House in Antioch, Tenn. As the shooter was reloading, Shaw Jr. saw his opportunity to act and tackled the assailant, managing to wrestle the gun away and throw it over the counter.
“I acted in a blink of a second,” Shaw Jr. told the New York Times. “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.”
Six total people were injured during the shooting, including Shaw Jr. himself, who sustained burns on his hand from wrestling away the rifle. The shooter took the lives of four people, including restaurant employee Taurean C. Sanderlin, Joe R. Perez, Belmont University student DeEbony Groves and Akilah DaSilva, who was critically wounded during the incident and later died at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Reinking was found and arrested on Monday in a wooded area near his Nashville apartment.
Despite his heroic act, Shaw Jr. has denied that he is a hero, saying in a news conference that he acted out of an impulse for self-preservation.
“I did that completely out of a selfish act,” said Shaw Jr. “I was completely doing it just to save myself. Now, me doing that, I did save other people. But I don’t want people to think that I was the Terminator, or Superman or anybody like that. It was just, I figured if I was going to die, he was going to have to work for it.”
Shaw Jr. later said that he feels sorry for the lives lost at the restaurant and that he wishes he could’ve gotten to the assailant sooner, and he is now raising money for the victims of the shooting through GoFundMe. The crowd-funding campaign, which set a goal of $15,000, has, as of this writing, raised a total of nearly $100,000, with more and more donations pouring in as the news of the campaign grows.
The comments on the donation page thank Shaw Jr. for his actions and express condolences for the loss of the victims’ lives.
According to a local news source, Shaw Jr. has said he would like to keep in touch with the families of the victims, as well as the survivors. He is grateful for the opportunity to return to his four-year-old daughter and hopes to see her grow up in a more peaceful world.
Shaw Jr. was quoted as saying, “I hope we can bring violence in all facets—not just gun violence, but all facets of violence—to an end.”
You can see and support Shaw Jr.’s GoFundMe here.