The Trump administration is looking to bring to the White House the man who authorities say saved lives by disarming a gunman at a Waffle House in Tennessee, a spokeswoman said on Tuesday.
James Shaw Jr., 29, has been hailed as a “hero“ by the police in Nashville for confronting a shooter who opened fire at a Waffle House restaurant in nearby Antioch, Tenn.
The attack left four dead — three who died at the scene and one who died later at the hospital — but authorities said Shaw “no doubt … saved many lives” during the April 22 shooting. Shaw rushed at a man armed with an AR-15. The suspect, Travis Reinking, also 29, was arrested last month.
Asked whether President Donald Trump had reached out to Shaw or had plans to invite him to the White House, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Tuesday referred to a potential meeting between him and Trump.
“My understanding is that there has been an outreach effort to bring him here to the White House, and I’ll keep you updated on that as I have more information,” Sanders told reporters during a White House press briefing.
Trump has faced criticism for failing to address the shooting, whose victims were all people of color, and for not publicly thanking Shaw, who is African-American. As of Tuesday’s briefing, the president had yet to tweet or speak publicly about the attack.
Both as a presidential candidate and since entering office, the president has battled charges of racism, including sharp rebukes to his response to a white supremacist rally in Virginia last year.
Though Trump has not addressed the Waffle House attack, Vice President Mike Pence took to Twitter to praise Shaw as “an American HERO!”
“Tragic shooting in Tennessee earlier this week,” he said. “Thanks James Shaw Jr. for your courageous actions to save lives and your continued efforts to help others. You’re an American HERO!”
Trump earlier on Tuesday hosted crew members and passengers of Southwest Flight 1380, which was forced to make an emergency landing after an engine failure last month. One passenger died during the accident, marking the first from an in-flight episode in the airline’s history and the first on a U.S. carrier in nearly a decade, according to Southwest and the National Transportation Safety Board.
In a tweet, Trump called it a “great honor to thank and welcome heroic crew members and passengers of Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 at the @WhiteHouse!”