Who are Rex Engelbart and Michael Collazo? Officers dubbed "heroes" over Nashville school shooting response
Audrey Hale, aged 28, who recently came out as transgender, drove to The Covenant School, a Christian educational institute in Nashville, and killed six individuals before the responding officers shot her dead on Monday, March 27.
Trigger warning: This article contains mentions of gun violence and mass shooting that may not be suitable for all readers. Discretion is advised.
Following the shooting, in a press conference, Nashville Police Chief John Drake identified the two police officers who fatally shot the suspect as Officer Rex Englebert and Officer Michael Collazo.
Providing a brief insight into the identities of the two officers who successfully neutralized the suspect at the scene, Drake stated that Officer Rex Englebert has worked with the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department for four years and Officer Michael Collazo has been serving for the last nine years.
"They are truly heroes": Social media praises the police officers who killed the Nashville school shooter
Bodycam footage from the cameras of both officers captured the moment they rushed into the school, clearing hallways before locating the suspect on the second floor of the building. The suspect fired multiple shots at the officers before they returned fire and fatally wounded the assailant at the scene.
Moments after the two officers' names were released, social media erupted with praise for them, who have been hailed as "heroes" after their quick response neutralized Audrey Hale less than 15 minutes after the suspect opened fire at the Covenant school, which killed three children and three staff members.
People commended the Nashville officers' courage in the face of adversity online, lavishing praise on them. Check out a few of these tweets below:
Detailing the incident, Nashville Police Chief John Drake said that the two officers responded to the active shooting incident immediately after receiving a distress call. They began clearing the building as soon as they reached the location, starting from the lower level until they heard shots coming from the second floor.
Soon after, the duo rushed to the second floor, where they encountered the suspect in a common area shooting at officers already present at the scene.
After the incident, police identified the six victims who were killed in the mass shooting incident, including three young children, all aged 9, identified as Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and William Kinney. The suspect also killed school principal Katherine Koonce, 60, and two staff members, Cynthia Peak and Mike Hill, both 61 years old.
Police, who are still exploring the circumstances behind the targeted attack, said that they are investigating if the gender of the suspect, who recently came out as transgender, was a potential motive for the shooting. Authorities said that Hale, who worked as a graphic designer, was also a former student at the Covenant school.