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Tennessee Legislature honors James Shaw Jr. as hero in Waffle House mass shooting. (WZTV)

Tennessee Legislature honors James Shaw Jr as hero in Waffle House mass shooting

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By KAYLIN JORGE and KATHLEEN SERIE, WZTV

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) - Tennessee legislators came together Tuesday to honor a man whose heroism saved many lives during the Waffle House mass shooting.

James Shaw Jr. is being credited with stifling accused gunman Travis Reinking at a Waffle House in Antioch on Sunday. When Shaw saw his opportunity, the Nashville native wrestled a hot AR-15 from the shooter during the attack on employees and patrons.

On Tuesday, the Tennessee House honored Shaw with a resolution that he is a hero. A standing ovation erupted in the House after the proclamation.

"I'm a genuine person,” Shaw said. “I didn't actually do it to save people, I did it just to save my life. So, in me saving (my) life, I saved other lives."

Shaw spoke with reporters and lawmakers saying he faced "the true test of a man." He said he never thought he'd be in a room with all eyes on him.

Shaw has said he made a split-second decision to challenge the suspect. He got the gun away and threw it over a counter.

Shaw had been sitting inside the restaurant with his best friend, Brennan McMurry, when the shots rang out.

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"Me and him still have flashbacks, going back to it,” Shaw said. “You're going to think about it, it's still fresh."

"My wife was in utter disbelief that that could've happened to her husband,” McMurry said. “We just got married in November, so if you think about that, and the fact that I may not have even made my six-month anniversary is a very, very scary thought."

While Shaw and McMurry reunited with their families, they said even more weight was lifted from their shoulders when police found and arrested Reinking on Monday.

"If you've ever done squats, and once you take the weight off your back and you put it back on the stand, that's kind of how it was,” Shaw said. “It was like, 'Thank you, God.'"

Shaw was also being honored in the Tennessee Senate at 1:30 p.m.

Shaw said he hopes to shed some light on this type of tragedy.

"It's definitely a life-changing moment, and I'm going to try to use this moment that I'm in as a platform to maybe bring awareness to just shootings and violence, because it's a total difference when you're on the other side when you're actually in it,” Shaw said.

A GoFundMe has been made in Shaw's name and has raised tens of thousands of dollars.

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