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TSU President Glenda Glover lauds ‘bravery’ of alumnus hailed a hero in Waffle House shooting

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover says the university is “extremely proud” of alumnus James Shaw, Jr., who is being hailed a hero for wresting an assault rifle from a gunman at a local Waffle House.

TSU alumnus James Shaw Jr. gets a hug from Waffle House CEO Walt Ehmer during a press conference on the Waffle House shooting Sunday, April 22, 2018 in Nashville, Tenn. (photo, The Tennessean)

“Our hearts go out to the families that lost loved ones in this horrific crime, and we will keep them in our prayers, along with our Nashville community,” says Glover.

Four people were killed and two others wounded in the incident that occurred Sunday in the suburb of Antioch. However, authorities say there may have been more casualties had it not been for Shaw’s actions.

“The TSU family is extremely proud of alumnus James Shaw, Jr. for his bravery and courage,” says Glover. “His actions saved the lives of many others.”

Shaw is scheduled to appear on “The Ellen Show” on Wednesday, May 2, at 3 p.m. President Glover has planned a campus event on May 7 to honor him. It will be at the Farrell-Westbrook Building (The Barn) at 6 p.m.

Last week, state lawmakers honored Shaw with a resolution at the state Capitol. After the resolution was read on the House floor, Shaw received a standing ovation for several minutes. He was joined by his best friend, Brennan McMurray, who was also at the Waffle House that day and pulled several people into the restaurant’s bathroom during the shooting.

Both men were also recognized on the floor of the state Senate.

Shaw, 29, has been humble about his actions, saying he’s really not a hero.

James Shaw, Jr. and his best friend, Brennan McMurry, talk to reporters after being honored by the state House on Tuesday. They were also recognized on the Senate floor. (photo by Lucas Johnson, TSU Media Relations)

“I did save other people, but I don’t want people to think that I was the Terminator or Superman or anybody like that,” Shaw told reporters at a press conference after the shooting.

 One person not surprised by Shaw’s humbleness is current TSU student Shaheed Whitfield. The 21-year-old marketing major is mentored by Shaw and says it’s part of Shaw’s character, which is what he respects most about him.

“The whole thing about him saying he doesn’t want to be a hero, that’s him on a daily basis,” says Whitfield, adding that Shaw “really enjoys helping people.”

Whitfield, a St. Louis, Missouri native, belongs to the same fraternity as Shaw, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Both joined the organization at TSU.

He says Shaw is like a true big brother who continues to give him advice that he takes to heart.

“He always tells me to keep going, regardless of the situation,” says Whitfield. “Just push through it.”

Shaw says he enjoyed his time at Tennessee State and that he’s proud to be part of the TSU family.

“People that I was a freshman with have texted me, or called me,” says Shaw. “It’s just a bond that we have.”

Shaw’s parents are also alumni of the university.

Shaw has set up a GoFundMe page for the shooting victims. To contribute, visit https://www.gofundme.com/5g07bvs.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.