Nashville police on Tuesday released harrowing bodycam footage from cops who responded to the shooting at a private Christian school that left three children and three adults dead.
The Metropolitan Nashville Police Department were called to The Covenant School at 10:13 a.m. Monday for reports of an active shooter. Just 14 minutes later, the suspected shooter—identified by authorities as 28-year-old Audrey Hale—was shot dead by officers on the second floor.
Warning: graphic footage below
“MNPD Officers Rex Engelbert, a 4-year veteran, and Michael Collazo, a 9-year veteran, were part of a team of first responders to the Covenant campus [Monday] morning and immediately entered the building,” the department said in the description of the footage released on YouTube. “Both of those officers fired on the shooter, who was killed. This is their body camera footage.”
The video begins with images from Engelbert’s bodycam. It shows him arriving at the school and taking a rifle from the back of his police vehicle. Approaching the school, an adult wearing a lanyard tells him: “The kids are all locked down—but we have two kids that we don’t know where they are.”
Engelbert then enters the building. Inside, sirens can be heard blaring overhead as officers move through the school clearing empty classrooms and bathrooms. At around two minutes and 40 seconds into the tense operation, what sounds like gunshots can be heard. “I think it’s upstairs—it sounds like it’s upstairs,” Engelbert says to another officer as he runs towards a staircase.
On the second floor, Engelbert joins other armed officers. The sound of gunfire is much louder and apparently much closer. The group then move down a corridor toward the sound of the gunfire. At the end of the corridor, Engelbert spots the shooter standing by a large window and opens fire. The suspect collapses to the ground and officers move in, firing more shots.
One officer can be heard yelling at the shooter to “stop moving” and repeatedly telling them to “get your hand away from the gun.” Collazo can then be seen moving firearms away from the shooter, who is collapsed on the floor.
The video also shows footage from Collazo’s bodycam as he enters the school and heads upstairs to confront the shooter. He too opens fire and can be heard saying “suspect down” before moving the firearms.
Nashville police said Hale was firing through the second floor window at officers as they arrived downstairs. Hale was armed with an AR-style rifle, an AR-style pistol, and a handgun—and used the guns to shoot through a locked side entrance, Nashville Police Chief John Drake said Monday.
In a news release Monday evening, authorities identified the victims of the massacre as three nine-year-olds named Evelyn Dieckhaus, William Kinney, and Hallie Scruggs. The adults killed were identified as school custodian Mike Hill, 61, substitute teacher Cynthia Peak, 61, and head of school Katherine Koonce, 60.
A motive for Hale’s attack has yet to be established, but Drake suggested “resentment” toward the school may have played a role. On Tuesday, a friend of Hale’s shared details of messages Hale sent to them apparently minutes before the shooting started.
Family members and former friends described Hale to The Daily Beast as a quiet art student who had recently transitioned to using he/him pronouns.
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