Moved by the heroism of James Shaw Jr., the young father who wrestled a gun away from an active shooter in a Tennessee Waffle House last month, strangers have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to support Shaw and his efforts to raise funds for the victims of the shooting and their families.
Shaw started a GoFundMe page in the days after the tragedy, hoping to raise $15,000 to help the families of those who died and were injured in the shooting.
As of Tuesday morning, donors to the campaign had raised over $229,000 — more than 15 times Shaw’s original target.
“I am overwhelmed,” the 29-year-old electrician said in a statement this week, according to The New York Times. “To the thousands of people who have expressed their care, prayers and made financial donations, I can only respond by saying ‘Thank you.’”
Meanwhile, a second GoFundMe campaign, the proceeds of which will benefit Shaw directly, has raised over $218,000. Yashar Ali, a HuffPost contributor, launched that fundraiser to create a college fund for Shaw’s 4-year-old daughter.
“James Shaw Jr. put his life on the line when he took on the gunman who killed four people at a Nashville area Waffle House,” Ali wrote on the campaign page. “Since that horrific shooting, he has raised tens of thousands of dollars for the victims and shown a level of humility that has inspired many of us.”
Almost 7,000 people have contributed to Ali’s fundraiser.
Officials say Shaw saved lives and averted further disaster after he lunged at accused gunman Travis Reinking in a Waffle House in Antioch, Tennessee, and successfully wrestled the rifle out of the shooter’s hand. Reinking fled the restaurant and was arrested the next day.
Shaw has attempted to downplay his actions, insisting that “anyone” could have done what he did under the same circumstances. “I’m not a hero,” he said at a news conference in April.