NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A man wearing nothing but a green jacket and brandishing an assault rifle stormed a Waffle House restaurant in Tennessee and shot four people to death before dawn Sunday, according to police, who credited a customer with saving lives by wresting the gunman’s weapon away.
Witness Chuck Cordero told The Tennessean newspaper he had stopped to get a cup of coffee and was outside the restaurant when he saw the chaos unfold around 3:25 a.m.
“He did not say anything,” Cordero said of the gunman, who he described as “all business.”
Cordero said the man who wrested the gun from the suspect saved lives. “Had that guy had a chance to reload his weapon, there was plenty more people in that restaurant,” he said.
Police identified the customer as 29-year-old James Shaw, Jr.
Shaw told the Tennessean in an interview that he was “just trying to get myself out. I saw the opportunity and pretty much took it.”
The newspaper said Shaw was grazed by a bullet, treated and released.
“When I was in the ambulance to hospital I kept thinking that I’m going to wake up and it’s not going to be real,” Shaw said. “It is something out a movie. I’m OK though, but I hate that it happened.”
Aaron said the gunman arrived at the restaurant, sat in the parking lot for four minutes before shooting two people outside, then entering.
Inside, Shaw grabbed the rifle from the suspect and tossed it over a counter, Aaron said. After that, the gunman fled.
“No doubt he saved many lives,” Aaron said of the customer, who he described as a hero.
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