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Waffle House Hero Raises Money for Victims’ Families 
By Jennifer Bihm, Staff Writer 
Published May 3, 2018

James Shaw Jr., dubbed the “Waffle House Hero,” raises money for victims’ families through GoFundMe. (AP photo)

James Shaw Jr., the man who brought the deadly Nashville Waffle House shooting to an end last week, has reportedly raised over $200,000 to support the victims’ families. Shaw created a GoFundMe Page Sunday, April 22, the same day of the shooting. Shaw asked people to please “take the time to donate” and the response greatly surpassed his original $15,000 goal.

Early that Sunday morning, around 3:30 a.m., 29-year-old Travis Reinking opened fire at a Waffle House in Antioch, a neighborhood in Nashville, Tennessee, killing four people. When he stopped to reload, Shaw Jr., also 29, was able to wrestle the gun away. Reinking fled the scene after, according to news reports from Tennessee.

Several other patrons were injured. Shaw himself, was grazed and subsequently burned while grabbing the firearm. Shaw has been humble and reluctant to accept the hero status beginning to be bestowed upon him by many.

“I don’t want people to think that I was the Terminator or Superman or anybody like that,” Shaw said.

He had been acting out of self-preservation, he said.

Last week, he spoke to Tennessee legislators, saying he was “very grateful to be here.”

“I never thought I would be in a room with all the eyes on me but… all I can say is … this was a true test of a man. I do, once again, apologize to the people that lost loved ones, friends or family,” Shaw said.

“There’s four families that are grieving right now. So much life was lost for no reason,” he told reporters in Nashville. “I feel like it could be very selfish of me if I didn’t point it out. And I apologize.”

“I hope we can bring violence in all facets — not just gun violence, but all facets of violence — to an end.”

On April 29, NHL team, the Nashville Predators, honored Shaw Jr., with a “hero’s” welcome, participating in some of the pre-game festivities. The team presented him with a customized jersey to go over the shirt he wore to the game, which had the simple message, “Spread Love.” He also received a standing ovation from the home crowd.

Reinking was taken into custody after a tip led police to him last Monday. He had been carrying a weapon and ammunition in a backpack when police found him. The 29-year-old gunman refused to make a statement and requested a lawyer according to news reports from Tennessee.

Recently, Reinking was charged with four counts of homicide. Reporters said in July of last year, Reinking breached a White House security barrier and made a request to see President Donald Trump. He told a Secret Service officer that he was a “sovereign citizen” who “had a right to search the grounds.”

According to CNN: Reinking’s brush with law enforcement in the nation’s capital was not his first. Documents obtained by CNN affiliate WBBM from the sheriff’s office in Tazewell County, Illinois, suggest a troubling pattern involving guns and what one police report described as “delusional” behavior.

“Travis is hostile toward police and does not recognize police authority. Travis also possesses several firearms,” an officer said in a May 2016 incident report. At the time, Reinking’s parents had called emergency services to report their son believed pop star Taylor Swift was stalking him, and he had made comments about killing himself.

Meanwhile, the victims’ families are picking up the pieces. DeEbony Groves, 21, one of the homicide victims, was reported to have died singing Gospel songs. Waffle House CEO Walt Ehmer spoke at Groves’ funeral.

“We went and visited with the survivors, and they talked about the people who were in that restaurant before what happened, happened, and specifically remembered your daughter,” Ehmer said.

“And [they] spoke of your daughter and her friend, and said they were singing gospel songs. And everybody was singing and enjoying each other and she said, ‘The last thing I remember her saying was, singing Jesus Loves Me.'”

Police said that had Shaw not grabbed the gun, the carnage would have been much worse.

Categories: Business | National | News | Safety
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