Ellen Sits Down with Waffle House Hero James Shaw Jr.
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Ellen Sits Down with Waffle House Hero James Shaw Jr.


Tell us what happened. Take us to that night. What time was is? What were you doing there? What was going on? So me and my best
friend, Brennan, we were actually
out at a lounge. And we had already went to
a Waffle House before that. We went to a Waffle House
closer to the lounge. That Waffle House was packed. So we decided to go to
another Waffle House. This was about 3:17. And at that time, we walked
into the Waffle House. And we actually saw the shooter. But we didn’t think
anything of it. So we walked in. We saw the cook. The cook was cooking
and washing dishes. And then one of the cooks
actually went on break, said he was going
to have a cigarette, and he’ll be right back. We thought that dishes
crashed to the ground. But it was actually gunshots. And after the gunshots started,
it was kind of a lot of chaos. And then at what point
did you realize that it was gunshot and not dishes? When the workers started to
disperse and tried to take cover. And then I looked back, and
I saw a gentleman right there at the entrance. And he was no longer alive. You saw someone on the floor? Yes, ma’am. OK, so then what do you do? After that, the glass was
broke from another shot, and– Because he was
shooting from outside? Yes. The glass was broke
from another shot. And pretty much, I jumped from
the table tops, the counter. And I jumped to the entrance
of the bathroom hallway. OK, so at what point did
you make this decision to charge the shooter? So at one point in
time, the shooter panned back to the right. And he shot to the right. And he shot through the glass. And one of the bullets
actually grazed my right arm, near my elbow. And then after that,
I just remember becoming totally relaxed. And I just said, I need
to keep an eye on him. And I looked through the
window, and he had the barrel pointed down. And then I saw him reloading. And you knew you were
shot at that point? Not really. It was really kind of a blur. Mm-hm. OK, so you see him reloading. And you think, that’s
my chance to go at him? Yeah, I had a voice in my
head that said, do it now. Do it now. And I took the opportunity. But it was just you by yourself. It wasn’t, like, anybody with
you saying, let’s do this. It was just you saying,
I’m going to do this. Yes, ma’am. So you go and grab the gun. You burned your hand, because
it was so hot from firing that you burned your hand
when you grabbed it, right? Yeah, so I received
second-degree burns on my right hand. Ooh, yeah. I can see that. And then I got a couple of
other scrapes and bruises, but– So you tossed the gun. You threw it over the counter,
or something like that. And then you had
him on the ground? So I’m pretty sure we
were never on the ground. I think we were just tussling
and wrestling for the gun. And then once I got it, I
threw it over the counter top. And then he ran. I pushed him and myself
outside, because I wanted to get to safety, and
I knew safety was outside. Right. Wow. You’re a brave man. You’re a really brave man. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] Your friend is here with
you today that was with you? Yeah, Brennan, he is here. I can never get rid of him now. No, he can’t. [LAUGHTER] And so when people
say you’re a hero, how does that sound to you? So the whole hero thing is, I
don’t have a problem with it. It’s just that if you’re
in that same situation, I want you to know that
a regular guy did it. And I want you to
emulate that same thing and know you have that
fire inside yourself. [APPLAUSE] Amazing. All right. So you started raising money
for the people that were killed. There were four people
that died from this. And you started– not only
does he step in and do this, but he starts a GoFundMe
to pay for funerals for the people that were shot. And for the families,
you raised $215,000. [APPLAUSE] Thank you, thank you. I mean, so he does this, and
raises money for the families and for funerals. And then some people decided
to start a GoFundMe for you, to raise money for
you and your daughter. And so over 6,000
strangers have chipped in. And now, I think it’s $205,000
that they’ve raised for you. [APPLAUSE] And our friends at Shutterfly
were inspired by you. And they want to add
$20,000 to that GoFundMe. [CHEERING] Thank you. By the way, I should mention
that the journalist Yashar Ali started this for you. And so it brings the
total to $225,000. So today, we’re giving you
that check for $225,000. [APPLAUSE] Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you all. Listen, the campaigns
are ongoing. So go to our website to
learn how you can donate.

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