NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) is receiving praise for its rapid response to Monday’s shooting at the Covenant School in Green Hills.
MNPD said the incident began at 10:13 a.m. as 28-year-old Audrey Hale entered the school by shooting through a side door and going from the first floor to the second floor, firing multiple shots.
In minutes, officers swarmed the school, and a staff member told them what she knew.
“They should be honed in on the circumstances there and listening to the information, and apparently they did,” said Mike Walker, a retired colonel with Tennessee Highway Patrol who spent decades in law enforcement.
Watching the body camera video, Walker said the officers’ first goal was to clear the ground floor room by room.
“They were going in to ensure there weren’t any people in there or the shooter might be there,” he explained. “And then they kept moving.”
With those classrooms cleared, the five officers headed upstairs toward the gunfire.
“They’re going to be going and shooting as they go,” Walker said. “And that’s what they did. If you look at that video, they’re shooting as they’re moving in.”
Within minutes, the officers were face-to-face with the shooter. At this moment, Walker said the officers followed their training to the letter—shoot until the threat is gone.
“In this situation, there was still movement, and even reaching toward the weapon,” he told News 2. “So, yes, they’re going to shoot until that threat’s eliminated.”
Walker said that MNPD’s response to the Covenant School could not have been more different than the Uvalde Elementary School shooting, where officers waited and 21 people were killed. He added that Nashville’s officers deserve high praise.
“You don’t hesitate. Uvalde is a prime example of failure, and that did not occur in Metropolitan Nashville,” explained Walker. “They did exactly what they were trained to do and did it in the proper manner.”
President Joe Biden called the two officers credited with taking the shooter down — identified as Officer Rex Engelbert, a 4-year MNPD veteran, and Officer Michael Collazo, a 9-year MNPD veteran — to thank them for their service. He also spoke to MNPD Chief John Drake.