NASHVILLE – Two police officers are being hailed as heroes for their role in ending the shooting rampage at a local Christian elementary school that left three staffers and three young children dead.
Rex Engelbert and Michael Collazo are the officers whose body camera videos from inside The Covenant School were released by the Metro Nashville Police Department. They were among dozens of Metro Nashville police who descended on the building after the first 911 call came in at 10:13 a.m. Monday – an active shooter was roaming the school’s halls.
The shooter, 28-year-old former Covenant student Audrey Hale, was dead 11 minutes later.
The body camera footage shows Engelbert armed with a rifle, taking lead in the line of officers clearing the school. Engelbert fired at least three shots at Hale, authorities said. Following closely behind Engelbert was Collazo, who fired four rounds at Hale.
►Tennessee lawmakers on Tuesday delayed hearing a number of proposed firearms bills, drawing criticism from some gun safety advocates.
►A citywide candlelight vigil will be held Wednesday night at Public Square Park to honor the victims.
Engelbert, 27, is a four-year veteran of the police department. He grew up in Chicago and graduated from Loyola Academy high school in 2014. He graduated from Ohio’s University of Dayton in 2018, where he played rugby and earned a degree in criminal justice. His brother, Kevin Engelbert, told NBC Chicago he was proud to hear of his brother’s heroism.
“My mom always taught us to be brave, and it’s almost not surprising to see that bravery come through,” Kevin Engelbert said. “I’ve known Rex to always be as brave as he is compassionate. And a gentle giant.”
Collazo, 31, has been on the force nine years. The Marine Corps veteran also responded to the Christmas 2020 bombing in Nashville, where Anthony Quinn Warner detonated a bomb downtown that took Warner’s life and injured eight bystanders. Police Chief John Drake said Collazo has trained as a paramedic with the SWAT team. His sister, Deanna Collazo DeHart, told told Fox News Digital her brother loves his job.
“I sit and think about all the training and all the different classes that he does, and all the family events that he’s had to miss because of training or leaving to go through this training or this class,” she said. “It all really does pay off.”
Shooter texted friend from parking lot of school minutes before bloodshed
Hale was already in the school parking lot when he sent chilling messages to a friend minutes before the attack. Averianna Patton was talking on the phone Monday at 9:57 a.m. when she saw an unusual message from Hale, her middle school basketball teammate.
“I’m planning to die today,” Hale wrote. “You’ll probably hear about me on the news.”
The messages, which Patton shared with Newschannel5, make no mention of killing others. Patton responds by trying to convince Hale not to harm herself. Patton also called a suicide hotline, which directed her to the police nonemergency number. Patton called police at about the time the shooting started – and then police.
– Cassandra Stephenson, The Tennessean