On April 22, a semi-nude gunman identified as Travis Reinking fatally shot two people in the parking lot of a Nashville Waffle House before entering the establishment and opening fire, killing two more people. He likely would’ve shot more people had it not been for 29-year-old James Shaw Jr., who single-handedly tackled the suspect and wrestled away the assault rifle he was carrying.
Shaw, who is the father of a 4-year-old daughter, grabbed the gun and tossed it over the counter, prompting Reinking to flee the scene, who was eventually caught by the police. The authorities and social media hailed the brave Nashville resident as a hero, who was grazed by a bullet during the struggle and burnt his right hand grabbing the barrel of the rifle.
However, it took President Donald Trump three weeks to finally acknowledge the shooting (where all the victims were people of color) and thank Shaw Jr. (an African-American man) for his heroic actions.
“This morning, the president had a call with James Shaw Jr. to commend his heroic actions and quick thinking last month at a Waffle House in Tennessee,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah told the reporters during the daily press briefing. “Mr. Shaw saved lives when he wrestled a gun from an active shooter who had open fired.”
It is important to note the White House had earlier said it was looking to extend an invitation to Shaw, but when reporters asked Shah if Trump was going to meet the Waffle House hero, the deputy press secretary didn’t have a satisfactory answer.
“I don't know if he was invited,” he said. “I just honestly don't have more for you on that.”
Before this reported phone call, Trump hadn’t even tweeted about the shooting – even though he had enough time to tweet about Kanye West and repeatedly call Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe a “witch hunt.”
Shaw, who has since started a fundraiser to raise money for the victims of the shooting and their families, had earlier spoken to CNN about not hearing anything from the president.
“At this time, I haven't heard anything,” he had told host Van Jones at the time. “I know he has a busy agenda, a busy schedule. Maybe he just hasn't got around to me. Maybe my time is coming.”
Banner / Thumbnail : Reuters, Leah Millis