Waffle House Hero, James Shaw Jr. Reminds Us of Jesus in These Two Ways

James Shaw

James Shaw, Jr., is the hero who stopped the Waffle House shooter in Antioch, Tennessee, on April 22, 2018. But while Shaw says, “I’m just a regular guy,” the rest of us applaud him for being a hero.

“While I was in hospital,” Shaw, 29, says, “a girl that was there said you saved my life. I didn’t do it to be hero.”

Brennan McMurry, 28, a longtime friend of Shaw’s was with him at the Waffle House. “He is a hero in my books,” McMurry says.

James Shaw’s Instincts Saved Lives

When Travis Reinking opened fire, killing four and wounding four in the early hours of that Sunday, James Shaw sprung into action. Shaw wrestled the AR-15 away from Reinking and threw it over the counter. Reinking fled and Shaw saved numerous lives.

Shooting witness Chuck Cordero describes how terror can overtake someone witnessing such violence. Cordero was outside the Waffle House when the shooting started.

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Cordero ran and hid behind his car as gunshots echoed around him. “My heart was beating, my limbs weren’t working. I tried to run and fell,” Cordero said. “I’m not a coward, but I was very scared.”

Shaw’s instincts when the shooting started led him to take cover near the restrooms. Even though he was grazed by a bullet, Shaw saw his opportunity when it seemed like the gunman’s AR-15 jammed or the shooter was reloading.

“I saw my opportunity, my window,” Shaw said. “So I took it. And I ran through the door as fast as I can and just kind of jammed him up with the gun pointed down. Then we started kind of wrestling for it and scuffling for it and fighting for it.”

That’s when Reinking let it go with one hand and Shaw took it and tossed it over the counter. Then Shaw removed him from the Waffle House.

Shaw says he knew he had to act because it was like “shooting fish in a barrel” if he did nothing.

James Shaw was willing to risk his life for others and for that we applaud him. In John 15:13, Jesus says, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Isn’t that what Shaw did? He put his life on the line to save the lives of others. What a great example of the kind of love Jesus has for all of us. Well done, James Shaw!

James Shaw’s Heroism Doesn’t End There

After Shaw saved the lives of numerous people, he went home, changed clothes, and went to church with his family. Then within hours, he launched a GoFundMe campaign for the shooting victims’ families that has raised over $162,000 so far.

Soon after, Yashir Ali who was inspired by Shaw started a GoFundMe campaign for James Shaw that has almost reached the $175,000 goal with over 5,000 donors in two days.

Ali posted this in the GoFundMe campaign: “According to news reports, James has a four-year-old daughter. Perhaps this money can be used for her college fund or some other education-related expense. But I’d be just as happy if James used some of this money to take his family on a nice vacation.”

Shaw gave in his heroism but then he also gave as he sought to raise money for the victims’ family. Not to be undone, now others are giving to him and his 4-year-old daughter.

It’s impossible to watch what’s happening here and not think about Luke 6:38: “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Well done, James Shaw! Well done!

Christine Yount Jones
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Christine Yount Jones is Content Director for Outreach Media Group. She has published several books and hundreds of articles about ministry in the last three decades. Before his death in 2003, Michael Yount and Christine had three children. Now, she and her husband, Ray Jones, together have five grown kids.