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Who Is James Shaw Jr.? The Waffle House Shooting Hero Saved "Many Lives" In Tennessee

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On April 22, an armed man entered a Tennessee Waffle House and opened fire. This kind of headline is always sad to see — but thanks to one brave man, there's a different ending to this incredibly devastating story. Who is James Shaw Jr.? Some are calling him a hero.

According to an April 22 report from CNN, a man entered a Nashville-area Waffle House and opened fire in the building. This is when Shaw Jr. entered the picture. Once hearing the gunshots, Shaw Jr. reportedly hid in the bathroom while keeping an eye on the armed shooter. Then, Shaw reportedly ambushed the unassuming gunman and wrestled the firearm out of his grasp, causing the shooter to flee the scene. According to CNN, four people were killed, but Shaw's brave actions saved many other lives.

Metro Nashville police spokespeson Don Aaron spoke to CNN about the incident, and discussed Shaw Jr.'s brave actions.

"He saw the gunman looking at his rifle. At that point, the shots had stopped," Aaron told CNN. "So he decided to rush the gunman, actually wrestled that assault rifle away, tossed it over the counter. At that point, the gunman then fled."

Aaron has cited Shaw Jr. a "hero" for his bravery stepping up and taking down the gunman.

"He is the hero here, and no doubt he saved many lives by wrestling the gun away and then tossing it over the counter and prompting the (gun)man to leave," the police spokesman told CNN.

Shaw Jr. certainly deserves the title "hero," but he might disagree. While speaking to The Tennessean, Shaw said that he was just trying to escape, and took an opportunity when he saw it.

“I don’t really know, when everyone said that (of being a hero), it feels selfish,” Shaw Jr. said. “I was just trying to get myself out. I saw the opportunity and pretty much took it.”

Unfortunately the gunman reportedly escaped the scene, but police have asked the public to be on the lookout if they see the shooter, and to immediately contact authorities if he's spotted.

Heroic moments can truly come from the most unfortunate circumstances, and in the most unsuspecting places. However, there is one key piece to this story that needs to be discussed. Since reports surfaced about the incident, many people are taking to social media to point out that Shaw Jr., who was unarmed, was able to take down the shooter and wrestle away the firearm he was carrying.

One Twitter user wrote,

Wayne LaPierre, 2012: 'The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun.' Today: A good guy with no gun, James Shaw Jr., stopped the #WaffleHouse shooter.

Film Producer Adam Best also shared his thoughts on the incident, particularly about AR-15 firearm that was used.

Despite widespread reports of Shaw Jr.'s heroism, Donald Trump has yet to speak out about the incident at the time of publication.

The topic of gun control has certainly been a hot button issue over the past few months alone. The discussion has only heated up following the tragic Feb. 14 shooting of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which killed 17 people. Since then, many have have fought to have gun control legislation strengthened and stricter gun laws. Following the shooting at Stoneman Douglas, Connecticut Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy took the Senate floor on Feb. 14 to share his thoughts on the matter.

He said,

Let let me just note once again for my colleagues: this happens nowhere else other than the United States of America. This epidemic of mass slaughter, this scourge of school shooting after school shooting. It only happens here not because of coincidence, not because of bad luck, but as a consequence of our inaction. We are responsible for a level of mass atrocity that happens in this country with zero parallel anywhere else.

Regardless of what your thoughts are on the topic of gun control, there's no denying that men like Shaw Jr. are truly the heroes who deserve to be celebrated.