(TSU News Service) – Families of the victims of the Waffle House shooting last month got a chance to collectively thank TSU alum James Shaw, Jr., the man being hailed a hero for disarming the shooter.
Family members attended a ceremony at Tennessee State University on Tuesday to honor those killed and wounded in the April 22 incident at the Waffle House in the Nashville suburb of Antioch.
TSU President Glenda Glover welcomed the families to the university, before everyone gathered for a brunch with Shaw and his mother and father. Four balloons were later released on the university’s campus in remembrance of those killed in the shooting.
Authorities have said there would have probably been more casualties had it not been for Shaw’s actions. The 29-year-old wrested a rifle away from the gunman and tossed it over the counter before shoving the shooter out the door.
Shaw has been humble about his actions, saying he’s really not a hero. But those attending the event at TSU on Tuesday reiterated what the nation has been saying since the shooting: Shaw is a hero.
“Had you not been there, everybody in that building would have been killed,” said Renee Hampton, the aunt of 24-year-old Sharita Henderson, who was wounded in the shooting. “I just want to say thank you.”
Shaw has said he plans to use the notoriety he’s receiving as a platform to address gun violence and mental illness issues. In doing so, Abede Dasilva, who was there with his brother Akilah that didn’t survive said Shaw is honoring his brother.
“My brother was against guns,” he said. “He would want this.”
Immediately after the shooting, Shaw set up a GoFundMe campaign with a goal of $15,000. However, he raised over $240,000.
A replica of the check was presented to the families during the luncheon. The amount will be divided evenly among the families once processed and released.