"You are my hero," State Deputy Jason Powell said, "and Tennessee's hero."
Overthrow a Murderer
Shaw was seated with a friend at the Waffle House desk early Sunday, when an armed man wearing only a green jacket opened fire outside the restaurant, police said.
Shaw jumped from his seat and slid across the floor to the toilet, he recalled. He looked for the revolver, and as soon as there was a break in the shootout, Shaw came to him.
"I thought if I died, he would work for it "he told reporters Sunday.
Shaw stormed at the man with the gun and they argued about something that felt like a minute, Shaw said.
The barrel of the rifle was still hot when Shaw managed to wrest it away, he said. He threw it behind the counter, and the shooter fled.
The encounter left Shaw with a burn on his hand and a wound on his elbow where a bullet brushed him.
CNN's Holly Yan contributed to this report.