By Sean Yoes, Baltimore AFRO Editor, [email protected]
A White gunman murdered four people of color at a Waffle House restaurant near Nashville, Tennessee April 22 and the death toll could have been much higher if not for the heroic actions of a young Black man who happened to be at the restaurant.
Travis Reinking, 29, who was wearing only a jacket initially, allegedly shot his way into the busy restaurant, killing two outside and two inside.
However, James Shaw, Jr., 29, says he was determined to live to see his four year-old daughter, and sprang into action as Reinking allegedly wielded his AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle.
“I went behind…a swivel door and he shot through that door…and I’m pretty sure he grazed my arm,” said Shaw during a press conference. “And it was at that time I made up my mind, because there’s no way to lock that door, that if it was going to come down to it, he was going to have to…work to kill me,” Shaw added. “So, at the time he was either reloading or the gun jammed, or whatever happened is when I ran through the swivel door, I hit him with the swivel door…so, we were scuffling and I managed to get him with one hand on the gun and I grabbed it from him and I threw it over the countertop.”
Shaw, on the same day as the shooting, set up a go fund me page for the victims of the Waffle House shooting. So far, the effort has raised $25,794 in 18 hours, $10,000 over the initial goal of $15,000.
According to Metropolitan Nashville Police, Reinking fled the scene completely naked, but police believe he went to his apartment put on of pants and may have escaped into the woods. He is still at large.
Police identified those killed as; Taurean C. Sanderlin, 29, of Goodlettsville, Tn., Joe R. Perez, 20, of Nashville, Akilah DaSilva, 23, of Nashville and DeEbony Groves, 21, of Gallatin, Tn.
Two others were also shot, but our recovering from their injuries; Shanita Waggoner, 21, and Sharita Henderson, 24, both of Nashville.
Update 4/23/18 – Reinking was captured alive Monday afternoon in the woods of Nashville by the Nashville Police Department.