(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.
A Nashville police tweet identifying Engelbert and Collazo with their official portraits was liked more than 70,000 times a few hours after it was posted, with a long list of comments praising them as heroes who saved lives.
“I’m thankful for all that,” Collazo said of the praise 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.
Engelbert’s body camera video shows him and other officers searching room by room for the shooter as a school alarm blared.
They follow the sound of gunfire, rushing up a flight of stairs.
As 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.”