FERRIER FILES: Nashville native's heroic actions stifle Waffle House shooter

(Fox 17 News)

James Shaw Junior is a homegrown hero after staring down the barrel of an AR-15 amid death and panic inside an Antioch Waffle House early Sunday.

Shaw was born in Nashville, went to Hunter’s Lane High School and college at Tennessee State University. Now the 29-year-old father works at AT&t as an electrician.

Shaw made a life-changing decision and is being hailed as a hero for his actions when a gunman opened fire on an Antioch Waffle House early Sunday morning. When accused shooter Travis Reinking was trying to reload or unjam his gun, surrounded by glass, and death and panic, Shaw took action.

“I know that in a tenth of second something was with me to run through the door and get that gun from him," Shaw said. "I can do that ten times and only come out one time with the outcome I came out with."

Already grazed by a bullet, Shaw grabbed the still hot barrel of the AR-15 and threw the gun over the counter. The barrel left a huge blister on his right hand.

“His face is like a blur," Shaw said. "When I hit him, his head hit the door."

Lives were saved. Shaw could have just smiled and accepted all the praise, but he teared up and told the truth.

“I want people to know I did that completely out of a selfish act," Shaw said. "I was doing that to save myself. I did not do it to save other people. I am not some kind of Terminator or Superman. It was just I was going to die, and he was going to have to work for it."

But it was modesty the honesty that touched the entire country through social media.

“Humble, honest, defiant against evil. Thank you sir”

Far from being swept up in glory, James Shaw stayed grounded and almost immediately started a GoFundMe page for the victims. CLICK HERE to donate.

Even as he was talking about what he did, he was thinking of other people.

“I’m not a hero, I’m just a regular person,” said Shaw.

But the CEO of Waffle House felt differently.

“You don’t get a chance to meet a hero," Walt Ehmer said. "I am looking at one now. And let me tell you I talked to a lot of the survivors and they will be talking about you for the rest of their lives."

Shaw got a standing ovation at a candlelight vigil at Mt. Zion Baptist church on Monday night. He said just wanted to attend to pay his respects, but it was impossible to overlook the man of the moment.

Representative Brenda Gilmore, in conjunction with the Davidson County lawmakers and House Speaker Beth Harwell, will honor Shaw on the Tennessee House floor on Tuesday.

“If a hero is ‘a person noted for courageous acts or nobility of character,’ then James Shaw, Jr., is a hero twice over, for he has demonstrated both his courage and character in a manner few could ever attempt to emulate," the resolution reads.

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