James Shaw Jr., 29, asserts that he is not a hero – that he was acting instinctively when he confronted a gunman at a Waffle House restaurant in Nashville early Sunday and wrestled the loaded gun away from him. Though he was successful in doing so, he himself sustained injuries on his body. By his actions, only four people died. And only three more were wounded.
“I’m not a hero,” he said at a news conference afterwards, according to The Washington Post. “I’m just a regular person, and I think anybody could have did what I did if they are just pushed into that kind of cage.”
“You have to either react or you’re going to fold, and I chose to react because I didn’t see any other way of living, and that’s all I wanted to do. I just wanted to live,” he added.
But if there’s any doubt about his heroics or character, he laid all arguments to rest by what he did for the victims of the shooting the day after.
Shaw created a GoFundMe page to raise money for the victim’s families. The page had far surpassed its original $15,000 goal, which it met in just 19 hours, and had climbed past $43,000 as of mid-Monday afternoon.
Shaw also took time to meet the survivors of the shooting. At Vanderbilt University Medical Center, he shared the grief experienced by the patrons who had been at the Waffle House on Sunday.
“Thank you,” an older man whispered in Shaw’s ear as they embraced, crying.
He spent time in the trauma unit, speaking softly to two young women who had survived. According to The New York Times, he stayed a few minutes with each woman while deflecting any talk of his bravery.
“How you doing, mom and dad?” he said to one of the girls; in another, he said, “Hey girl. How you doing?”
“I’m a father, and we had a father moment when we saw each other,” he said in a lobby after speaking to the father of one of the women. “If you can imagine, actually, your child being there and meeting the person who saved their child, it was very touching.”
Please pray for the victims and their families of Sunday’s shooting. Be sure to read about Kate Middleton’s amazing connection to Princess Diana hours after giving birth.