TN Waffle House shooting hero James Shaw, Jr: “I just knew it was me or him”

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The man who wrestled the rifle away from the shooter inside the Antioch, Tenn. Waffle House said he’s just a regular person who acted to save himself. 

“I figured if I was going to die he was going to have to work for it, so I rushed him,” said James Shaw. 

Everyone from the mayor to the FBI to the police chief are all calling him a hero.  

“I’m not a hero,” Shaw said.  “I’m just a regular person. I think anybody could have did what I did if they’re pushed. You have to either react or fall. I chose to react because I didn’t see any other way to live. I just wanted to live.”

Here’s his account of events inside the Waffle House around 3:30 a.m. Sunday: 

Shaw heard the gunshots outside the restaurant. He saw bullets shatter the window, and a victim collapsed in the doorway. 

Then he saw the gunman enter with a blank look on his face. 

That’s when Shaw went to the hallway behind a door. Gunfire went through the door and grazed his arm.  

For a moment the shooting stopped, Shaw figured the gunman was either reloading or the gun jammed. That’s when Shaw moved.  

He hit the gunman in the head with a door, then wrestled for control of the gun. He says he managed to get his hand on the AR15 and threw it over the restaurant counter.  When Shaw shoved the gunman out the door, the gunman jogged away. 

“If I didn’t rush him I probably wouldn’t be here,” said Shaw.” I just knew it was me or him.”
Shaw was taken to a hospital and treated for some minor injuries:  scraped knuckles, a swollen finger, and a wound on his forearm where he was apparently grazed by a bullet. 

Shaw admits he has no combat training, but knew he had it in him to fight and save himself. And he emphasizes that he was not trying to be a hero. 

“I did that completely out of a selfish act. I was doing it to save myself. I wasn’t trying to be the Terminator or Superman.”

After he left the hospital, James Shaw went to church.  

“I’m not a greatly religious person,” he said. “I don’t want this to be a major moment in my life. I went to church to get past it.” 

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