Waffle House hero raises $150,000 for victims

FAN Editor

The Waffle House customer who charged at the suspected gunman who killed four patrons has launched an online fundraiser for the victims’ familes. James Shaw Jr., who was praised as a hero by law enforcement officials in the hours after the Sunday morning shooting, took upon himself to help the families of the victims, raising more than $150,000 and counting as of Wednesday evening.

Shaw Jr., 29, was credited with disarming suspect Travis Reinking after he allegedly attacked customers with an assault-style rifle at a Waffle House in Antioch, Tennessee. Four people were killed and four others were wounded. 

“I’m pretty sure he grazed my arm,” Shaw said. “At that time I made up my mind — that he was going to have to work to kill me.” 

Shaw, who is the father of a 4-year-old girl, told The New York Times that his only aim during his encounter with the gunman was, to put it simply, to “live.” 

“He was mad at me,” he told the Times. “I was just trying to live. I wasn’t trying to get no money from him, I wasn’t trying to do anything from his standpoint. I just wanted to live, and he was, like, astonished, that I wanted to live.”

The GoFundMe page was created by Shaw Jr. on Sunday with an initial goal of $15,000. It quickly surpassed that, amassing more than 4,000 contributors and ten times the starting point within three days. 

The Waffle House where the shooting happened reopened on Wednesday. Proceeds from the next 30 days of sales at the store will go to the families of the four who were killed and to the two who remain hospitalized, said Waffle House spokesman Pat Warner.

Reinking, 29, faces multiple criminal charges, including four counts of criminal homicide. A public defender listed as his attorney has not responded to an email seeking comment. Police say they still do not know of a motive for the crime.

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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