Last week, we received the devastating news that three children and three staffers at The Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee had lost their lives at the hands of 28-year-old school shooter, Audrey Hale (who identified as a male named Aiden).
As horrific as the news was, things could’ve been much, much worse if Nashville police hadn’t taken quick action.
Luckily, officers arrived to the scene and neutralized the threat within 15 minutes.
The two officers who fatally shot Hale were identified as four-year vet Rex Englebert, and nine-year vet Michael Collazo.
Their harrowing bodycam footage shows them quickly infiltrating the school, clearing rooms, and pushing upstairs right to the shooter, and taking the shooter out as quickly as possible.
With that being said, Englebert and Collazo are now speaking out about that horrific, yet also heroic day, according to FOX News.
Englebert was the first to speak at the press conference, where he recalled:
“I really had no business being where I was. I think you can call it fate or God or whatever you want, but I can’t count on both my hands the irregularities that put me in that position when a call for service came out for an active deadly aggression at a school.
I immediately turned on my lights and sirens knowing the severity of such a call. I’ve been to I don’t know how many false active deadly aggression calls. Something told me it was time to really get to this one. I treat them all the same, but I was driving as safely I could get my body there.”
He credited the staffers at the building for giving him key information to find the shooter quickly:
“Luckily, due to the bravery of two staff members, they stayed on scene, they didn’t run, and they gave me concise, clear information for me to use to help anyone in danger.
A gentleman gave me the exact key I needed to enter the building. It was readily apparent I was going to be the one to make entry. I’d been given my training. I know my role, and I made entry with the personnel I had. And luckily, I had some.”
He didn’t hear gunfire until a few minutes after he was already in the building, but when he did, he straight for it:
“We cleared the hallway we had, room by room, until we made it into the lobby. When I did hear stimulus, I couldn’t get to it fast enough. I just looked for the nearest staircase I could find because I could tell it was above my head.
Eventually, following the guidance of other officers, I luckily deployed my rifle, kept walking toward the sound of gunfire. There was, like sergeant said, some smoke in the air. It was very similar to the training we had received.”
I definitely wish I had also deployed my rifle caliber rated heavy plates when I found myself at the front of the stack where I found the stimulus or the threat on the second floor of the school. Work wasn’t over, we didn’t know if there was another threat.
Immediately took teammates I’m not used to working with started clearing rooms, escorting children, teachers along. There were more personnel and resources at this time. I was able to guide them out.”
A certified hero.
Next up was Collazo, where he discussed the day as well:
“We heard the thousand code go out of the active shooter, and we heard the dispatch location and that it was in midtown. Regardless if it was in midtown or not, like every other officer in our department, we took off running out of the office, plugged in the address on our GPS’s, and we took off toward the location.
As we were on our way to the school itself, our dispatch as doing a phenomenal job. They were giving us as much updates as they could. They told us the individual had entered into the school, they were actively shooting, gave us a description. And they were receiving this information from the individuals that were already on scene.
Without hesitation, the employee just took off running toward the door that was learned later to be where the shooter had entered. He took off running and telling me to follow him, which helped out tremendously. So I stayed in my vehicle and drove that direction.”
He painfully recalled coming across two of the victims on his way to neutralize the shooter:
“I ended up parking my vehicle, exiting and noticed all the glass to that door had been shot out. Saw shell casings on the ground, bullet holes on the door, so I immediately made entry. As I made entry into the school, I saw an individual that I believe has been identified as the janitor.
He was laid out on the ground not moving. I relayed that information over our radio to the dispatch that I had made entry, and I had an individual that was down. Still didn’t have a stimulus. The shooter wasn’t shooting at that point.
At some point during that time frame, we started hearing the first shots. Once we started hearing the first shots that’s when everything kind of kicked into overdrive for us. We had gone up the stairwell, made our way down the hallway, that’s when I ran into that second victim laid on the ground.
We had to push past the victim because we continued to hear more shots being fired. It was very distinctive. You could clear as day tell that rifle rounds were being fired. We came upon a T intersection. Sgt. Mathes was on one side, and I was on the other side.
We didn’t know if the shooter was to the left or the right. Smoke was everywhere. The fire alarm was going off. Somewhere right around that point we heard another shot.”
So it told us the shooter was to our right. That’s when I made the call and yelled that the shooter was right. And we pushed right and continued down that hallway. Officer Rex had caught up to us.
I noticed that Officer Rex had a rifle with an LPVO on it. And not knowing where the shooter was in the distance that we’d possibly encounter, asked Officer Rex to push forward for us, which he did without hesitation. We continued down that path until we encountered the shooter.”
Sgt. Mathes also discussed the day as well, and recalled the horrific moment he and everybody else in the squad had to step over a victim in order to get to the shooter:
“All of us stepped over a victim. I to this day don’t know how I did that morally, but training is what kicked in.
Our job is to run toward it.. We just heard the sounds and from my training experiences, I knew those sounds to be rifles.”
Collazo also talked about the moment they knew everything was OK:
“That was when I was able to call my wife and tell her that I was OK and advise her of everything.”
Thank God for these brave men who rushed directly into the face of danger to save lives. If only the community of Uvalde, Texas, had men like them…
Here’s the full press conference: