By Frederick H. Lowe
After watching WGN television news in Chicago on Sunday show mugshot after mugshot of black men either under arrest or wanted by police, it was exciting to see a photo, not a mugshot, of James Shaw, Jr., a 29 year-old black man who successfully wrestled away an automatic rifle from a nearly naked white man after he had shot to death four individuals, including three African Americans, at an Antioch, Tennessee, Waffle House restaurant.
The killer, later identified by police as Travis Reinking, 29, who was raised in Morton, Illinois, ran away but police captured him without incident in the woods behind the restaurant on Monday.
Reinking shot to death two people outside Waffle House before walking inside and firing his AR-15 rifle, then pausing to reload. The dead were identified as Taurean C. Sanderlin, Akilah Dasilva, Joe R. Perez and DeEbony Groves. Police charged Reinking with four counts of murder. A judge revoked his $2 million bond.
Reinking also wounded two others.
When Reinking paused his firing, Shaw rushed him and wrestled the gun away from him before throwing it over the restaurant’s counter. He burned his hand grabbing the gun barrel.
Shaw had been hiding in the bathroom when Reinking fired a bullet through the bathroom door.
“I think that’s when I became alert about the situation and was like, there’s kind of no running from this. Kind of like a fish in a barrel type thing and I’m going to have to try to find a flaw or a point in time where I can make this work for myself,” Shaw Jr. explained on Good Morning America on Monday morning.
“I was completely doing it just to save myself,” Shaw Jr. told reporters at a news conference, the BBC reported. “I did save other people, but I don’t want people to think that I was the Terminator or Superman or anybody like that. I figured if I was going to die, he was gonna have to work for it.”
Reinking and Shaw then ran in opposite directions.
Shaw created a GoFundMe campaign to help the Waffle House victims and their families. The fundraising page, which GoFundMe verified for MONEY as legitimate, says simply:“My name is James Shaw Jr. I am creating this page to help the families of the victims from the shooting that took place at Waffle House in Antioch, TN. Please take the time to donate as all of the proceeds will be given to the families. Thank you again for your generosity and blessings!
Thus far, the website has raised more than $109,000.
Shaw, who works for AT&T and is a graduate of Tennessee State University, is being hailed as a hero.
The Tennessee Legislature honored him today, but President Donald Trump hasn’t called him although the White House in a press briefing praised his courage.
Trump honored the pilot and crew of a Southwest Airlines jet that landed safely in Philadelphia after an engine blew at 30,000 feet on April 17th. A woman passenger was nearly sucked out the one of the plane’s windows.
Shaw did what Trump said he would have done in another situation.
Trump claimed he would have rushed into Marjory Stoneman High School in Parkland, Florida, and disarmed Nikolas Cruz who fired an AR-15 rifle, murdering 17 students on February 14.