BREAKING NEWS : Allen County Coroner IDs Rodeway Inn shooting victim Full Story

Hero in shooting speaks out

James Shaw Jr., a customer who saved countless lives at a Nashville-area Waffle House, speaks out after a seminude gunman killed four people.

Posted: Apr 24, 2018 9:56 AM
Updated: Apr 24, 2018 9:58 AM

The heroism of James Shaw Jr. ended a deadly shooting at a Tennessee Waffle House before more lives were lost. But Shaw wants people to know that it doesn't take a hero to save the day.

Heroes seem untouchable, Shaw told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Monday.

"I just want to be put out there like a regular person," he said. Maybe then, if people find themselves in dangerous situations, they'll find "that same thing within them that they can project out," he said.

Be it heroism or bravery, Shaw's actions have drawn praise from police and the public for preventing further bloodshed.

But as he tells it, "I was just trying to live."

'He was going to have to work for it'

Shaw was sitting with a friend at the restaurant counter early Sunday morning when police say a gunman wearing nothing but a green jacket opened fire outside the restaurant.

Glass shattered, dust swirled and Shaw said he saw a man lying on the ground.

He bolted from his seat and slid along the ground to the restroom, he said. But he kept an eye and an ear out for the gunman. And the moment the shooter paused, Shaw decided to ambush him.

"I figured if I was going to die, he was going to have to work for it," Shaw told reporters Sunday.

He charged at the man with the rifle and they tussled for what felt like a minute, maybe two, Shaw said. His adrenaline was pumping as the gunman cursed and fought him, he said.

The barrel of the rifle was still hot when Shaw managed to wrestle it from the gunman, he said. He tossed it behind the counter and the gunman fled.

The encounter left Shaw with a burn on his hand a wound on his elbow where a bullet grazed it.

"The gun was hot and he was naked but none of that mattered," Shaw said. "I was just trying to get the gun away from him."

'I prayed for the victims'

Witness Chuck Cordero saw everything unfold from outside the Waffle House's famously wide windows.

As Cordero ran away, "I looked back and there was a gentleman wrestling with the gunman," Cordero told CNN affiliate WSMV.

Cordero described Shaw as a hero. Had the gunman been able to resume shooting, "there was plenty more people in that restaurant" for him to target, he said.

Hours after the incident, Shaw told reporters that what he did was a "selfish act." "I was completely doing it just to save myself," he said.

"I don't want people to think that I was the Terminator or Superman or anybody like that."

While the gunman was still on the loose Sunday, Shaw went to church with his father, mere hours after he'd confronted the gunman.

"It definitely helped," he said. "I prayed for the victims."

In an interview with WSMV, Shaw broke down thinking about the people he couldn't save and apologized to their families.

"There's four families that are grieving right now. So much life was lost for no reason. I feel like it could be very selfish of me if I didn't point it out. And I apologize," he said.

Shaw said he wants to stay in touch with those families, as well as the survivors. His first step was to create a GoFundMe page Sunday to assist the victims of the shooting, a GoFundMe spokeswoman told CNN. Within hours, the $15,000 goal was nearly met.

On Monday, he visited two of the survivors in the hospital.

Shaw said he is grateful he survived to see his 4-year-old daughter again. He wants her to grow up in a world with less tragedy.

"I hope we can bring violence in all facets -- not just gun violence, but all facets of violence -- to an end," he said.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 74328

Reported Deaths: 3041
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion15860725
Lake7570275
Elkhart484384
Allen3902163
St. Joseph350081
Hamilton2763104
Vanderburgh196313
Hendricks1887108
Cass17959
Johnson1757118
Porter131639
Clark123347
Tippecanoe121111
Madison97965
LaPorte91130
Howard89065
Kosciusko85212
Bartholomew79347
Marshall78422
Floyd77946
Monroe75630
Delaware73052
Dubois69612
Boone67846
Noble67829
Hancock66038
Vigo65110
Jackson5865
Warrick58130
LaGrange55910
Shelby55327
Grant52630
Dearborn50828
Morgan47634
Clinton4343
Henry38320
Wayne37710
White36910
Montgomery35421
Lawrence34627
Harrison33823
Decatur33732
Putnam2888
Miami2742
Daviess27320
Scott26810
Greene25034
Jasper2432
Franklin24214
DeKalb2324
Gibson2254
Jennings22512
Steuben2103
Ripley2087
Carroll1912
Fayette1897
Perry18612
Starke1787
Orange17124
Posey1710
Wabash1693
Fulton1682
Wells1682
Jefferson1632
Knox1540
Whitley1526
Washington1401
Tipton13810
Spencer1363
Sullivan1261
Huntington1223
Randolph1224
Clay1215
Newton11810
Adams1012
Jay910
Owen901
Pulaski831
Rush804
Fountain742
Brown731
Ohio655
Blackford642
Benton610
Pike530
Switzerland520
Vermillion520
Parke511
Crawford450
Martin450
Union410
Warren221
Unassigned0206

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 100848

Reported Deaths: 3669
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin18317524
Cuyahoga13514499
Hamilton9643255
Lucas5348323
Montgomery436294
Summit3555222
Butler292963
Marion292545
Mahoning2554255
Pickaway238742
Stark1827139
Warren178939
Lorain177078
Columbiana165860
Trumbull1524106
Fairfield138732
Delaware130119
Licking128149
Clark114614
Lake111438
Wood104358
Clermont93311
Medina92335
Miami83938
Tuscarawas78214
Portage75861
Allen74044
Greene69012
Belmont62126
Mercer61213
Richland60412
Erie57527
Ashtabula56946
Geauga55644
Wayne53958
Ross4844
Huron3965
Darke39529
Ottawa38626
Hancock3783
Sandusky37716
Madison37410
Athens3571
Holmes3286
Lawrence2830
Auglaize2546
Union2511
Muskingum2361
Jefferson2292
Scioto2261
Seneca2143
Knox2057
Putnam20517
Preble2032
Washington20322
Shelby1944
Coshocton1936
Champaign1762
Crawford1745
Morrow1702
Hardin16512
Clinton1646
Highland1581
Logan1552
Fulton1481
Wyandot1468
Ashland1443
Defiance1444
Williams1353
Perry1303
Brown1292
Hocking1189
Guernsey1177
Henry1172
Fayette1130
Carroll1115
Monroe9318
Pike760
Jackson740
Van Wert711
Paulding690
Gallia651
Adams612
Meigs400
Vinton312
Harrison261
Morgan260
Noble160
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
88° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 94°
Angola
Few Clouds
88° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 94°
Huntington
Scattered Clouds
85° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 92°
Decatur
Clear
86° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 90°
Van Wert
Clear
86° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 90°
Storms return for Monday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events