U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

James Shaw, Jr.

2019 Special Courage Award | National Crime Victims’ Service Awards
Watch the tribute video

James Shaw, Jr. | Special Courage Award
James Shaw Jr. Foundation
Nashville, Tennessee

On April 22, 2018, James Shaw, Jr. was at a neighborhood restaurant in Nashville, Tenn., when a gunman opened fire, killing four people and wounding two other customers. Mr. Shaw showed great courage by stopping the threat. His brave and decisive actions helped to secure the safety and well-being of others at the scene, despite suffering his own serious injuries. 

Mr. Shaw’s courageous response prevented additional injuries and prompted swift action to aid wounded and terrified victims. The perpetrator fled the restaurant, leaving his rifle and ammunition behind. Mr. Shaw’s actions not only saved his own life, but also the lives of other customers and employees who were present at the time. 

Mr. Shaw’s valiant efforts did not stop there. He also took the time to visit the wounded victims at the hospital, and he helped to raise funds for the victims’ families. His efforts led to more than $225,000 in donations for the affected families. Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson nominated Mr. Shaw for this award, recognizing him for his bravery. 

Tennessee lawmakers passed a joint resolution honoring Mr. Shaw’s actions that stated, “no matter his motivations, Mr. Shaw is indeed a hero; his actions on that fateful morning are unfathomable to most, indescribable by even the chief of police, and very poignant to the citizens of Nashville, who are deeply grateful for his brave actions in the face of extreme adversity that saved many lives.” 

The attention and media coverage Mr. Shaw received since his courageous act have not changed his humility and dedication to helping others. His selfless actions and bravery that day, in addition to his concern for his fellow citizens in the days and weeks that followed the incident, is nothing less than admirable.

2019 National Crime Victims' Service Awards Tribute Video

Watch this video to learn more about James Shaw, Jr, 2019 recipient of the Special Courage Award.