Nashville Predators honor hero in Waffle House shooting

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Predators gave Nashville a chance to give the man who wrestled an AR-15 rifle away from a gunman at a Waffle House a standing ovation.

James Shaw Jr. met with Nashville coach Peter Laviolette before Game 2 Sunday night of the Predators' Western Conference semifinal with Winnipeg and he was given his own personalized jersey . The Predators recognized several of the first responders from that deadly shooting a week ago in Nashville. The sold-out crowd gave Shaw a roaring ovation.

Police have credited the 29-year-old Shaw for averting more bloodshed after a gunman opened fire outside the Waffle House and then stormed the restaurant. Four people were killed and four others, including Shaw, were wounded.

Shaw also has raised more than $160,000 for the victims.

Shaw said he had decided to stop with a friend early Sunday at a Waffle House. The first one he visited was too crowded with overnight patrons, so he ended up going to another in Nashville. As he entered the Waffle House, he was just two minutes ahead of the gunman, seating himself at a counter.

Suddenly he heard a loud noise, thinking at first that freshly washed plates had crashed from a stack in the restaurant. But he said he saw restaurant workers running and turned and saw a body near the front door as the gunman burst in.

It was then that he realized he was hearing gunshots.

 Head Coach Peter Laviolette met Waffle House hero James Shaw Jr. before the game. (Credit: Nashville Predators)

Head Coach Peter Laviolette met Waffle House hero James Shaw Jr. before the game. (Credit: Nashville Predators)

“I looked back and I saw a person lying on the ground right at the entrance of the door, then I jumped and slid ... I went behind a push door — a swivel door,” Shaw said. “He shot through that door; I’m pretty sure he grazed my arm. At that time I made up my mind ... that he was going to have to work to kill me. When the gun jammed or whatever happened, I hit him with the swivel door.”

Shaw said as they began wrestling he grabbed the hot barrel of the gun, ignoring his own pain.

“He was kind of cussing while we were wrestling around. When I finally got the gun he was cussing like I was in the wrong,” he said. “It wasn’t any kind of talking between us; I just knew I just had to get that away from him.”

Of the gun, he added: “I grabbed it from him and threw it over the countertop and I just took him with me out the entrance.”

Shaw said after getting the man out of the Waffle House, he ran one way and saw the suspect, naked save for a jacket, going another way. Police arrested the suspect Monday after a massive manhunt.

Shaw said a bullet apparently grazed him on one elbow and he fell and hit his knee as he escaped, landing in the hospital for a time early Sunday.

“I didn’t really fight that man to save everyone else. That may not be a popular thing,” said Shaw, a Nashville native who went to college in Tennessee and now works as a wireless technician. “I took the gun so I could get myself out” of the situation.

He said he was glad others were saved.

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