As Officer Rex Engelbert ran up to the Covenant School on Monday morning, a woman standing outside directed him inside and upstairs: The students were locked down, but two children were missing. Gunshots had been heard upstairs, near the fellowship hall.
About three minutes after leaving his car, Mr. Engelbert, a four-year veteran of the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department, reached the second floor of the school, where he and a second officer, Michael Collazo, fatally shot the heavily armed 28-year-old shooter.
A six-minute compilation of body camera footage from Mr. Engelbert and Mr. Collazo’s cameras, released by the police department on Tuesday, shows how police officers raced through the school, past children’s artwork hanging on the walls, searching classrooms and bathrooms, and ultimately killing the shooter. (Note: The video includes disturbing footage.)
After the police received a first report of the shooting at 10:13 a.m. on Monday, it took officers 14 minutes to arrive and shoot the assailant, identified by the police as Audrey E. Hale.
“I was really impressed that, with all that was going on, the danger, that somebody took control and said ‘let’s go, let’s go, let’s go,’” Chief John Drake of the Nashville Metro Police Department said at a news briefing on Tuesday. He added that he spoke to President Biden and expected Mr. Biden to reach out to both of the officers.
Surveillance footage, released late Monday night without audio, captured the shooter parking a car outside the school, and then firing through two sets of doors, the bullets shattering panes of glass. With a weapon drawn, the shooter can be seen walking through rooms and the halls of the school, at one point passing the children’s ministry.
The body camera footage shows officers quickly darting into classrooms and bathrooms, searching for the shooter. They run down hallways and past cubbies holding children’s jackets and backpacks.
“Let’s go, let’s go,” one officer yells, as a fire alarm and sirens blare in the background. At one point, an officer on the second floor calls out that “we’ve got one down.” A series of gunshots — close to a dozen total — is heard.
Officer Engelbert turns a corner to face a lobby area with seating and bookshelves, and spots the assailant, who he shoots four times, according to the footage from his body camera.
Officer Collazo then moves toward the shooter, who by this time is down on the floor, surrounded by broken glass, and the officer fires his gun four times, yelling, “Stop moving, stop moving.” Then Officer Collazo calls out, “Suspect down, suspect down,” and moves two weapons out of reach of the assailant.
John Ismay contributed reporting.