Dramatic bodycam footage from two different officers, released by the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department, shows the swiftness and determination of police to bring a quick end to the deadly Covenant Presbyterian school shooting in less than four minutes.
Liberty Park Press timed the police movement from the moment the locked school door was opened to the time Nashville Officer Rex Engelbert fired what sounds like four shots from his rifle, followed up within seconds by shots fired by Officer Michael Collazo, using a pistol. Bodycam footage from both officers was released, and in reaction, police are being called heroes by admiring citizens.
Fox Digital quoted Dave Katz, CEO of Global Security Group, who described the response thusly: “That’s exactly what has to be done… Heedless of officer safety, you enter and dispatch the shooter.”
Audrey E. Hale, 28, has been identified as the transgender woman who fatally shot three 9-year-old children and three adults at the school. The footage graphically shows the suspect on the floor, appearing lifeless. She was dressed in camouflage pants and was wearing what appears to be a tactical vest.
Hale’s victims were identified as Evelyn Dieckhaus, William Kinney and Hallie Scruggs, all age 9, plus Katherine Koonce, 60, the head of the school, plus substitute teacher Cynthia Peak and school custodian Mike Hill, both 61.
“The country owes these courageous officers a debt of gratitude,” said Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms after learning of the swift response. “They didn’t hesitate. From the time they entered the school building to the time they took down the shooter, less than four minutes elapsed. Nashville police did an outstanding job, and we are certain many more lives were saved as a result.”
On Nashville’s Facebook page, one woman wrote, “Thank you for running toward the threat unlike the cops at Uvalde. You saved more children and staff. Job well done officers. I do know you train for this, but I do pray for the peace of your souls in having to take a life. Peace and comfort be with all of those involved.”
“Thankful for these two heroes, whose quick action, more than likely saved many lives,” said another admirer. “Thank you for your service, Officer Engelbert and Officer Collazo! I can’t imagine what you both went through at such a tragic scene. Prayers for you both, as well as all those affected by this terrible tragedy.”
Another woman commented, “Thank you for not hesitating to save those precious children and faculty. The shooter planned to do so much worse… and you are truly heroes.”
A fourth declared, “Thank God for these HEROIC officers and all the MNPD officers who responded and worked the crime scene yesterday!! No doubt many lives were saved by their actions. I just learned this morning that they were taking fire as they came upon the scene. God bless the MNPD!!”
Fox News is reporting that Hale is described as “a transgender former student” at the school, but whether that provides a clue about a motive for the attack has yet to be determined.
According to TheGunMag.com, Hale was armed with three guns, all of which authorities say were purchased legally from different retail outlets in the Nashville area:
- A KelTec SUB2000 semiautomatic rifle. This model folds for storage, accepts pistol magazines, has a 16.25-inch barrel, and overall length of 30.5 inches.
- A 9mm Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 9 EZ, a 9mm pistol with an internal hammer, a single-stack 8-round magazine, thumb and grip safeties, 3.68-inch stainless steel barrel and polymer grip frame.
- A Lead Star Arms “Grunt” rifle, reportedly chambered for the .300 Blackout cartridge. An AR-type clone, it’s a semi-auto which, according to an image published by Nashville police in a Twitter message, was fitted with a pistol brace.
Also appearing on the police department’s social media page are other images from the incident, including one showing a bullet hole through the windshield of a police patrol car, indicating the shooter fired at responding officers.
Public comments are universally supportive of the police response.
While investigators in Nashville are still trying to establish a motive for the horrific shooting Monday, many media outlets were downplaying or simply not reporting the shooter’s transgender identity. That has changed as the important detail spread.
Fox News reported a comment from CNN National Security Analyst Juliette Kayyem that paraphrased what gun rights advocates have said for years.
“Pronouns do not kill children, people with guns kill children,” she said, essentially acknowledging people are responsible for gun-related violent crime, not the firearm, itself.
Kayyem was alluding to the way slain Covenant Presbyterian school Audrey E. Hale allegedly identified as a male. Hale is being identified as “transgender.”
Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) told Fox News the Monday shooting should be investigated as a hate crime because Hale apparently targeted the Christian school, where she was once a student.
According to CNN, the alleged killer sent an Instagram message prior to the shooting, announcing she would die that day and it would be on the news.
“One day this will make more sense,” Hale wrote, CNN said. “I’ve left behind more than enough evidence behind. But something bad is about to happen.”
She reportedly left a “manifesto,” but the contents have not been released.
Hale fired a number of rounds inside the Covenant Church/School building. She was armed with these 3 guns and significant ammunition. pic.twitter.com/3LYOU2r0sh
— Metro Nashville PD (@MNPDNashville) March 28, 2023
NBC News is reporting that Hale was killed 14 minutes after entering the school. She was, according to The Daily Beast—quoting an anonymous source—autistic but “high-functioning.” She apparently only recently announced she was transgender, the source said.
As reported by Ammoland News, President Joe Biden quickly used the tragedy to repeat his demand for a ban on so-called “assault weapons.”
Others in the gun prohibition movement are also calling for more gun control, despite the fact that Hale reportedly bought her guns legally, which would have required background checks. She apparently had no criminal background to prevent the purchases.
One NBC report quoted Kris Brown, president of Brady United Against Gun Violence, who reportedly said one solution to such shootings is the “Brady background check system.” Also, Brown mentioned “extreme risk protection” laws, which do not appear to have been part of Hale’s situation.
“If you don’t want this to happen anymore,” Brown reportedly said, “vote, vote. Make sure that every time you vote you focus on which candidates actually stand for gun violence prevention or they stand with the gun industry. And if they stand with the gun industry what that means is that is profits over lives. And it’s just that simple.”
Hale reportedly had a map of the building including entry points, and it appears the attack had been well planned in advance.