On Sunday, James Shaw Jr. seized on an opportunity to save lives and wrestled an AR-15 away from a gunman who opened fire at a Tennessee Waffle House.
Early Sunday morning, suspect Travis Reinking reportedly entered the Waffle House and began shooting — killing four and injuring at least two others.
However, the death toll could have been even higher had Shaw not capitalized on a split-second opportunity.
He told The Tennessean that when he first heard the commotion, he thought plates had fallen to the floor.
Then, he saw a “gentleman outside on the sidewalk,” and after the shooter entered the restaurant, he fired his gun in Shaw’s direction and grazed his arm with a bullet.
Watch the video below:
In the next few seconds, Shaw exhibited extraordinary bravery and told The Tennessean:
“His gun either got jammed or he was trying to reload, I’m not exactly sure. But I saw my opportunity, my window, 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.”
The two began to wrestle for the weapon, but Shaw was able to grab it after the suspect let go of it with one hand. He threw the gun over the counter and then forced the suspect out of the restaurant.
“It wasn’t really a process of thinking,” he explained. “It was more so of a now, you have to do this now … if I let him load that weapon there wasn’t gonna be another window.”
He added that it was like “shooting fish in a barrel” because there was nowhere for the patrons in the restaurant to go.
Metro Nashville Police spokesman Don Aaron called Shaw a “hero” who undoubtedly “saved many lives.”
A car belonging to Reinking was found at the scene, and police urged the public to help them locate the 29-year-old, who is wanted for murder.