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'Let's go': Body camera video shows Nashville officers rushing school shooter
By Daniel Trotta,
March 28 (Reuters) - When police officer Rex Engelbert arrived at the Nashville grade school shooting on Monday, he immediately retrieved a rifle from the trunk of his patrol car.
Three minutes later, the shooter was dead, dropped by rounds Engelbert fired.
Nashville police on Tuesday released officer body camera video of the latest mass shooting to rock the United States, generating praise for Engelbert and fellow officer Michael Collazo for how efficiently they pursued the assailant.
"Let's go," Engelbert directed others, as police quickly closed in on the shooter who had killed three 9-year-old school children and three adults at the Covenant School.
Other officers who have yet to be identified also rushed toward the perpetrator, who was armed with two assault-type weapons and a 9 mm pistol.
Their actions contrasted with those of police in Uvalde, Texas, who during a school shooting last May waited more than an hour before storming the assailant. Nineteen students and two adults were killed in that tragedy.
The Nashville officers won praise from the police chief, a leading expert on police training and members of the public who called Engelbert and Collazo heroes on social media, saying they saved lives.
"I'm thankful for all that," Collazo said when reached by telephone on Tuesday. He declined to speak at length, saying, "I just want to spend time with my family."
Engelbert is a four-year veteran of the force and Collazo a nine-year veteran, police said. Collazo had previously worked as a paramedic with the SWAT team and had special weapons training, Police Chief John Drake told reporters.
"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,'" Drake said at a news conference on Tuesday.
President Joe Biden said he spoke with the officers involved in stopping the attack and planned to visit Nashville.
Thor Eells, executive director of the National Tactical Officers Association, said he was especially impressed with how the officers quickly shifted from their initial room-by-room search to a direct pursuit of the shooter once they heard gunfire.
"It was as close to perfect as you could realistically expect," Eells said, commending their calm, communication and technique in handling weapons.
Engelbert's body camera video shows police converge on the shooter. Someone yells "reloading" and Engelbert appears to be the first officer to fire, squeezing off four rounds that down the shooter.
Another officer with a long gun, standing between Engelbert and Collazo, may have also fired a round. Then Collazo quickly moves forward, firing four more shots with his handgun.
In Collazo's body camera video, he runs through a hallway with other officers toward the gunfire.
"Shots fired, shots fired, move," Collazo says before joining Engelbert and the other officer in confronting the shooter.
With the perpetrator on the floor, Collazo presses forward to take the final four shots, exhorting the shooter to "stop moving!"
There is no response from the mortally wounded assailant, as Collazo says, "suspect down, suspect down."
Reporting by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Colleen Jenkins, Richard Chang and Jamie Freed
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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