(CNN) — As soon as he heard the gunshots, James Shaw Jr. bolted and hid in a restroom. But he didn’t lose sight of the gunman.
And the moment the shooter paused, police said, Shaw decided to ambush him.
That heroic act by a customer saved countless lives at a Nashville-area Waffle House, where a seminude gunman killed four people early Sunday morning.
“He saw the gunman looking at his rifle. At that point, the shots had stopped,” Metro Nashville police spokesman Don Aaron said.
“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.”
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,” the police spokesman 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.”
Shaw told the Tennessean he doesn’t feel like a hero.
“I don’t really know, when everyone said that (of being a hero), it feels selfish,” Shaw was quoted as saying. “I was just trying to get myself out. I saw the opportunity and pretty much took it.”
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