Waffle House Tragedy and Its Hero

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Samar Mann

More stories from Samar Mann

May 29, 2018
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Waffle House Tragedy and Its Hero

On April 22, a man by the name of Travis Reinking walked into a Waffle House in Tennessee and opened fire. The shooter wore nothing but a green jacket. He killed 3 people instantly. One person passed away later at the hospital and two others were injured. During the chaos, one man by the name of James Shaw Jr. ambushed Reinking and successfully unarmed him. Reinking fled the scene, naked, and was arrested by authorities nearly 36 hours later.

James Shaw, Jr.

Shaw retained a surprisingly humble attitude about this heroic action as he stated, “I did that completely out of a selfish act. I was completely doing it just to save myself. Now, me doing that, 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’d rather you regard me as James, you know, just a regular person because I feel like everybody can do pretty much what I did”.

It seems as if shootings and deaths are becoming more and more normal. They occur more frequently and gain less shocked and outraged response than the shooting before it. However, in this case, we see something different. We see someone fighting back. We see an act of selflessness and defiance against accepting the tragedy of a shooting. James Shaw Jr. refused to give up.

Since then, we have seen the country and communities work to repair the damage done. Shortly after the shooting, James Shaw Jr. created a GoFundMe campaign to help the victims’ families. The campaign raised $165,000. Shaw was then recognized for his heroism by the state General Assembly. The Waffle House that was attacked has also pledged to donate 100% of its funds to the victims’ families.

Reinking is charged with four counts of criminal homicide, one count for unlawful gun possession, and four counts of attempted murder.

In our Xavier community, we should pray for the victims and their families as they struggle with this tragedy. Should you like to contribute to the Tennessee community fund, go to https://www.gofundme.com/5g07bvs. The mini-documentary below demonstrates what is important to James Shaw, Jr. in the context of living in the here and now and eternity.





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