James Shaw, Jr.

WASHINGTON, DC — The Justice Department today presented James Shaw Jr. of Nashville, Tennessee, the Special Courage Award during the annual National Crime Victims’ Service Awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. This honor is awarded to victims or survivors who exhibit exceptional perseverance and determination in dealing with his or her own victimization, or who acted bravely to prevent victimization.

“Risking his own life, Mr. Shaw acted swiftly and bravely after a gunman killed four people early one morning at a diner, saving the lives of many others. He then followed up his courageous action by delivering comfort and aid to wounded and traumatized victims,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “None of us knows how we would react in such a dangerous situation, but we can all be inspired by Mr. Shaw’s selflessness.”

On April 22, 2018, Shaw, an electrical technician, was eating at a restaurant when a gunman opened fire on the patrons. Despite being grazed by a bullet, a Nashville police spokesman said “Mr. Shaw saved, obviously, many lives in his heroic action.” Later, he visited wounded victims in the hospital and helped support them in their recovery.

“The trauma of those who experience a violent crime is deep and real, and their restoration to physical and emotional health can be long and difficult,” said Office of Justice Programs Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Matt M. Dummermuth. “But Mr. Shaw encourages us as individuals and as a nation to strive to meet the needs of those struggling in the aftermath of crime.”

The Department’s Office for Victims of Crime, a component of OJP, leads communities across the country in observing National Crime Victims’ Rights Week and hosts an annual award ceremony. President Reagan proclaimed the first Victims’ Rights Week in 1981, calling for greater sensitivity to the rights and needs of victims. This year’s observance takes place April 7-13, with the theme “Honoring Our Past. Creating Hope for the Future.”

The Office of Justice Programs, directed by Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Matt M. Dummermuth, provides federal leadership, grants and resources to improve the nation’s capacity to prevent and reduce crime, assist victims and enhance the rule of law by strengthening the criminal justice system. More information about OJP and its components can be found at www.ojp.gov.