Cooper Honors Shooting Victims on House Floor

Apr 25, 2018
Press Release

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the victims of a deadly mass shooting at a Waffle House in Antioch, Tennessee, on the morning of Sunday, April 22.

Four young, promising lives were lost, and two other people were injured. Today we mourn Joe R. Perez, 20 years old, who moved to Nashville to live with his grandmother and work at his brother’s business; DeEbony Groves, 21, a senior at Belmont University who was weeks from earning a degree in social work; Taurean C. Sanderlin, 29, a Waffle House employee who was outside on a break; and Akilah Dasilva, 23, a student and aspiring musician. Their paths crossed at the Waffle House, expecting nothing more than good food. Now, four young lives are lost. We mourn with their families, friends, and the Antioch community.

I would also like to recognize Mr. James Shaw, Jr. a native Nashvillian and an American hero. Mr. Shaw bravely stopped this attack from being even worse. His courageous and decisive actions saved many lives. In Mr. Shaw’s own words, he “saw an opportunity and took it.”

Later Sunday morning, after receiving treatment for his own injuries, Mr. Shaw went home to see his family. He is a loving father to his 4-year-old daughter, Brooklyn. He then went to the church he has attended since he was a baby. Mr. Shaw’s greatest concern is for the other victims, and he has organized a fund to support them.

Mr. Shaw doesn’t consider himself a hero, but his actions clearly prove otherwise. Mr. Shaw gave us hope on one of Nashville’s darkest days, and he embodies the very best of our community. We are forever grateful for his bravery and his willingness to put his own life at risk in order to save others.

We are both heartbroken for the tragic loss of lives and proud of our hometown hero. This tragedy will not define our city. We are grateful to people all across America who have supported our community with prayers and financial support.

May we all remember Mr. Shaw’s words: “I hope we can bring violence in all facets – not just gun violence, but all facets of violence – to an end.”