Four people are dead and others are injured after a gunman opened fire in an Antioch, Tennessee Waffle House early Sunday morning. The number of casualties could have been much higher had it not been for 29-year-old James Shaw Jr. He tackled the shooter and threw the assault riffle over the counter. The gunman, who is still at large, ran away naked, on foot.
The Waffle House Hero, as he has been called says he doesn’t feel like a hero; he saw an opportunity to disarm the shooter and did whatever it took to protect the lives of others.
Around 3:30 a.m., the Waffle House on Murfreesboro Road, where Shaw and some friends were eating, was riddled with the sounds of shattering glass windows and gunfire. Shaw told reporters he doesn’t remember how many shots he heard, but he felt a bullet graze his arm around the elbow area.
Witnesses say Travis Reinking, 29, of Morton, Illinois drove his pickup truck to the Waffle House outside of Nashville early Sunday morning. They said Reinking exited his truck and began firing AR-15 at two people outside the restaurant. He then went inside the restaurant and opened fire.
When the gunman paused to reload, Shaw saw his opportunity to overtake him. He tackled the man, then threw the riffle over the counter out of his reach.
“When he came in, I distinctively remember thinking that he is going to have to work for this kill,” Shaw Jr. said. “I had a chance to stop him and thankfully I stopped him.” He added: “I grabbed the gun and kept it down. He had one hand on it. I pulled it away and threw it over the bar.”
James Shaw Jr. says the shooter then went outside and fled on his own. He wasn’t wearing much in the way of clothing, aside from a green bomber jacket, which he shed shorty thereafter.
“Had that guy reloaded, there was plenty of people in that restaurant that would not have made it home this morning.”
– Witness to the shooting
A man thought to be Reinking was last seen in a wood line near Discovery at Mountain View Apartments on Mountain Springs Drive, near the Waffle House. The man was wearing black pants and no shirt, according to police.
Police urge area residents to remain on alert and call authorities with any information.
We will continue to follow this unfolding story.