Chicago (AFP) – The 29-year-old man who confronted and stopped a gunman during a rampage at a Tennessee restaurant was hailed Tuesday as a hero by the US state’s legislature.
James Shaw Jr singlehandedly wrestled away the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle from the hands of Travis Reinking — a fellow 29-year-old with a history of mental illness — as he was allegedly reloading in the middle of a shooting rampage in the early morning hours Sunday.
Four people were killed and two others wounded at the Waffle House restaurant in the city of Nashville, America’s country music capital.
But Shaw has been credited with saving many more lives. He suffered a graze wound from a bullet and burns on his right hand from grabbing the hot barrel of the gun.
He has already been called a hero by the survivors of the Sunday shooting and their family members, as well as by many in the media.
Shaw repeatedly has rejected the label, saying he acted for reasons of self-preservation.
“I’m not a hero. I’m just a regular person” he said Sunday amid tears. “I did that completely out of a selfish act. I was completely doing it just to save myself.”
But the Tennessee legislature on Tuesday overruled him, passing a resolution to honor Shaw. Lawmakers also gave him two standing ovations.
“No matter his motivations, Mr. Shaw is indeed a hero; his actions on that fateful morning are unfathomable to most,” the resolution said.
“Mr Shaw sprang into action and thus saved many lives.”
Reinking is in jail facing four murder charges. An earlier $2 million bail was revoked Tuesday, and he awaits his first court appearance on Wednesday.