james shaw jr. waffle house shooting hero
James Shaw Jr., shows his hand that was injured when he disarmed a shooter inside a Waffle House on Sunday, April 22, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn.
  • When a nude gunman opened fire at a Waffle House in Nashville early Sunday morning, 29-year-old James Shaw, Jr. leapt into action.
  • He wrestled the AR-15 rifle from the shooter, saving lives.
  • Police are still searching for suspect Travis Reinking, who they believe killed four people and injured two.

The man who wrestled the gun away from a Waffle House shooting suspect in Tennessee said Sunday if he were going to die, the gunman would “have to work to kill me.”

Police are calling James Shaw Jr. a hero for saving lives in the busy restaurant, but the 29-year-old Nashville resident said he only made a split-second decision to do all he could to challenge the shooter and save himself from being killed.

Shaw said at a news conference Sunday he had spent an evening out at a nightclub and entered the restaurant minutes ahead of the gunman’s arrival. He said he and another friend were seated at a high counter when he heard gunshots. Shaw said he had just seen restaurant workers stacking up freshly washed plates and thought at first that plates had crashed down.

Then, he said, restaurant workers scattered and he turned and saw a body near the front door as the gunman burst in. It was then he realized he had heard gunshots.

“I looked back and I saw a person lying on the ground right at the entrance of the door, then…