‘Call It Fate Or God’: Nashville Officers Say They Entered School ‘Without Hesitation’

[Screenshot/YouTube/WKRN News 2]

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The heroic police officers who stopped a gunman at a Nashville Christian school March 28 have spoken out about their response, telling reporters they entered the school “without hesitation.”

Six people were killed when the shooter, Audrey Hale, entered The Covenant Christian school in Nashville and opened fire with two “assault-type” rifles and a handgun. Within minutes, Nashville Police entered the school and subdued the shooter, saving the lives of countless potential victims. (RELATED: Trans School Shooter’s Manifesto To Be Released After FBI Review, Nashville Official Says)

“We’ve trained for incidents like this for years, with the thought that if it ever happened we would not hesitate,” Nashville Metro Chief of Police John Drake told reporters. “We would go in and we would do whatever was needed for the safety of those involved.”

The emergency call, Drake explained, brought together hundreds of members of the Nashville Police department, some of whom had never worked together prior to the shooting. Circumstances made them a team as they worked together to save lives.

Officer Rex Engelbert, whose body camera footage shows him taking out Hale with a rifle, told reporters he was “tired” that day and so opted to take care of some administrative work at the Metro Police Academy. That decision impacted the rest of Engelbert’s day as it put him in Midtown Nashville, in close proximity to the school.

“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 a deadly aggression at a school,” Engelbert told reporters.

Englebert went on to explain that as one of the first officers on the scene he was met by two employees of the school who provided him with a key. As more officers arrived on the scene, he was able to form a team of sorts with officers he had never worked with before, forcing him to use “plain speak” as they worked together to clear rooms.

When Englebert heard gunshots, he told reporters he “couldn’t get to it fast enough” as he searched for a staircase, understanding that the shots were coming from the second floor. Englebert revealed that when he “found himself at the front of the stack” he realized he wasn’t wearing rifle-grade body armor for protection.

When Detective Michael Collazo arrived on the scene, he found himself led by a school employee to the door Hale had entered. Collazo noted the glass of the door had been completely shot out, describing the shell casings on the ground and the bullet holes on the door.

Eventually, Collazo was able to make contact with Englebert’s team as shots were being fired on the second floor of the school.

“It was very distinctive,” Collazo recalled. “You could clear as day tell that they were rifle rounds being fired.”

“I noticed that Officer Rex had a [scoped] rifle,” Collazo stated, adding that since they didn’t know exactly how far the shooter was or what their position might be, he asked Officer Rex to push forward for the team.

“Which he did, without hesitation,” Collazo recalled.