NASHVILLE (CBS/AP/CNN) — The man who wrested the gun away from the suspect in Nashville’s Waffle House shooting says he had entered the restaurant just two minutes ahead of the gunman.
James Shaw Jr. says he had gone to eat early Sunday after visiting a nightclub. He then heard gunshots, but initially thought they were stacks of plates that had fallen over. Shaw says it was then that he saw restaurant workers scatter and a body near the front door as the gunman burst through the entrance.
“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 told a news conference Sunday.
The gun then jammed up, and Shaw managed to get one hand on the gun and grab it. He then threw it over the countertop and took the shooter with him out the entrance. Shaw says the shooter then trotted away.
Authorities are hailing Shaw as a hero for preventing further bloodshed at the restaurant.
“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,” Metro Nashville police spokesman Don Aaron said.
Shaw suffered minor injuries in the melee, including cuts and an injured elbow.
“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,” Aaron said.
Witness Chuck Cordero saw everything unfold from outside the Waffle House’s famously wide windows.
As he ran away, “I looked back and there was a gentleman wrestling with the gunman,” Cordero told CNN affiliate WSMV.
“He was a hero … had that guy had a chance to reload his weapon, there was plenty more people in that restaurant.”
© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten. CNN and the Associated Press contributed to this report