On Sunday morning, Reinking paused firing because of what appeared to be a gun jam or a need to reload.
Shaw capitalized on the opportunity and charged Reinking, ultimately wrestling the AR-15 away from him and forcing him out of the restaurant.
“James Shaw, you ran towards the danger, exposed yourself in a way that could have ended your life and in doing so saved the lives of everyone else that was there,” Cortés tweeted.
Shaw’s actions rightfully earned him the title of “hero,” and Cortés, in his “humble opinion,” concurred. He added that he hopes to meet the “true hero” one day.
JAMES SHAW you ran towards the danger, exposed yourself in a way that could have ended your life and in doing so saved the lives of everyone else that was there. For that, and in my humble opinion I’d say you are a true hero & I hope to meet you one day soon! #WaffleHouseShooting pic.twitter.com/Kiln7wsbny
— JW Cortés (@jwcortes) April 23, 2018
Cortés, who served in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, was hardly the only person to express his gratitude and awe for Shaw, who has rightfully received overwhelming praise.
James Shaw Jr. rushed the Waffle House shooter, disarmed him and threw the AR-15 assault rifle he was carrying over the counter.
James, you are an American hero.
We thank you for your courage and bravery and for saving lives. pic.twitter.com/t8rEzr3H82
— Michael Skolnik (@MichaelSkolnik) April 22, 2018
God bless James Shaw Jr. he tackled the Waffle House gunman and prevented more deaths! You are a hero James! pic.twitter.com/N64Q8LILGb
— Oliver McGee PhD MBA (@OliverMcGee) April 22, 2018
This morning I visited with Nashville’s newest hero, James Shaw Jr. Thrown into a crisis, he acted with courage. He told me he saw an opportunity, and he took it. He saved lives – that is certain, and we are thankful to him for his bravery.
— Mayor David Briley (@MayorBriley) April 22, 2018
Shaw, himself, rejects the label of “hero” and told “CBS This Morning”: “I don’t think I wanna be a hero. I think I just want to be James, and James used what he had to free himself.”
Four people lost their lives during the shooting, and Shaw started a GoFundMe fundraising page for the families of the victims. Police are still searching for Reinking, who has a warrant out for his arrest for the murders.