Apr 5, 2023 - News

Nashville officers describe mass shooting response

People visit a makeshift memorial at the entrance of The Covenant School

Photo: Seth Herald/Getty Images

Some of the first police officers to respond to The Covenant School shooting spoke to reporters for the first time Tuesday, and described charging through smoke and the smell of gunpowder to confront the shooter.

  • Two of the officers reported seeing fatally wounded victims as they searched for the threat. Six people, including three 9-year-old children, were killed in the shooting.

"Our training kicked in," Detective Sergeant Jeff Mathes said as he remembered running toward the gunshots.

Detective Michael Collazo and Officer Rex Engelbert fatally shot the suspect, identified as 28-year-old Audrey Hale. Body camera footage showed their fast and methodical work inside the school, which has been praised by policing experts and President Biden.

  • They were quiet and solemn as they described their response.
  • Both had been working on administrative tasks when the shooting was reported. Engelbert — who works in the downtown precinct — happened to be nearby because he was driving to the training academy.

Collazo said he and his colleagues have received an outpouring of support.

  • "We greatly appreciate that. But I also hope that, along with all of us, we remember the victims."

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