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Trump thanks James Shaw Jr. for 'heroic actions' in Waffle House shooting

The president praised Shaw's "heroic actions and quick thinking" for wrestling an assault rifle away from a gunman at a Tennessee Waffle House.
by Todd Johnson /  / Updated 
Image: Four Killed, Two Wounded In Shooting At Nashville Area Waffle House
Waffle House patron James Shaw, Jr., center, who stopped the shooting at a Waffle House where a gunman opened fire, attends a news conference in Nashville, Tennessee, on April 22.Jason Davis / Getty Images

President Donald Trump on Monday thanked the man hailed as a national hero for grabbing an assault rifle from a suspected gunman at a Tennessee Waffle House last month.

Trump called James Shaw Jr. on Monday morning to “commend his heroic actions and quick thinking,” according to White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah.

Last month, a gunman wearing only a jacket opened fire on customers inside a Nashville-area Waffle House restaurant, killing four and injuring four others.

Shaw, who had arrived just minutes earlier, was able to wrestle the weapon away from the shooter but burned his right hand after grabbing the hot barrel of the AR-15. He was also grazed by a bullet along his right arm.

The suspected gunman, Travis Reinking, was later arrested away from the scene and is awaiting a mental health evaluation.

Shaw, 29, started a GoFundMe page for the victims of the shooting hours after it took place. The page has already raised more than $240,000.

He has since been publicly lauded by celebrities and politicians for his action. In several media appearances since the shooting, Shaw has claimed he was only thinking about “survival” and doesn’t consider himself a hero.

He previously told CNN's Van Jones it wasn't his place to "judge" why Trump hadn't successfully contacted him sooner.

"I know [the president] has a busy agenda, a busy schedule," Shaw Jr.

Shah told reporters Monday he did not know if there were plans for White House visit with Trump.

The Nashville native works for AT&T and has a 4-year-old daughter. Shaw’s alma mater, Tennessee State University, recently created a scholarship in his name.

A separate scholarship started by journalist Yashar Ali has raised more than $221,000 to pay for Shaw's daughter's education.

The White House had previously praised his actions and Vice President Mike Pence tweeted that Shaw was an “American hero” shortly after the shooting occurred.

Until Monday’s call, Trump had not spoken or tweeted about Shaw, who did not immediately respond to NBC News’ request for comment.

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