Meet the man who saved countless lives when he engaged the Waffle House killer — with his bare hands

Meet the man who saved countless lives when he engaged the Waffle House killer — with his bare hands
James Shaw Jr. is being credited with saving lives at a Waffle House in Tennessee after he engaged a killer with his bare hands. (Jason Davis/Getty Images)

Meet 29-year-old James Shaw Jr. He was at a Waffle House in Antioch, Tennessee, early Sunday morning when a deranged killer opened fire with an “assault-style” weapon, killing four people and injuring at least another seven.

And he’s being credited with saving numerous lives.

What did he do?

According to the Tennessean, Shaw arrived to the Waffle House around 3:20 a.m., just minutes before shots rang out. He was with a group of friends who had just left a fraternity party.

When the killer opened fire in the restaurant, Shaw reportedly hid in the bathroom and watched the killer’s movements. He says he felt cornered.

“I remember I was like ‘Dang, I’m basically in a barrel.’ There is no place for me to go,” he said.

But once the killer stopped firing to reload, Shaw knew he had to act. So he engaged the killer with his bare hands and wrestled him to the ground, where he was able to strip the firearm from the killer and throw it behind the bar.

“When he came in, I distinctively remember thinking that he is going to have to work for this kill. I had a chance to stop him and thankfully I stopped him,” Shaw said.

“I grabbed the gun and kept it down. He had one hand on it. I pulled it away and threw it over the bar,” he explained.

The confrontation forced the killer outside, where he walked away. Shaw said he didn’t follow the man over fears he had another gun. Shaw then flagged down drivers to phone 911, according to the Tennessean.

Shaw is being celebrated as a hero all across social media, but he told the Tennessean he doesn’t much feel like one.

“I don’t really know, when everyone said that [of being a hero], it feels selfish. I was just trying to get myself out. I saw the opportunity and pretty much took it,” he said. “While I was in hospital, a girl that was there said you saved my life. I didn’t do it to be hero.”

However, police said there is “no doubt he saved many lives.”

Was Shaw injured?

Yes. He suffered a minor injury to his elbow, in addition to other minor abrasions, according to the Tennessean. He was treated and released from a local hospital by 7:30 a.m.