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March 31, 2023

In Brief: The Heroes of the Nashville School Shooting

The cops who raced toward danger knew the lessons of Uvalde.

When evil people commit acts of violence, there are often good people who do heroic things. As a woman opened fire at a Nashville Christian school, one of the three adults killed was Katherine Koonce, head of The Covenant School. She bravely confronted the killer, giving her life to try to stop the carnage. “She was in the hallway by herself,” said Nashville Metropolitan Police Chief John Drake. “There was a confrontation, I’m sure — you can tell the way she was lying in the hallway.”

The other heroes that day were the Nashville police officers who responded quickly and saved lives.

The heroes in Nashville were the police, who were on the scene quickly. With great discipline and courage, they entered the building, ran toward the shots, and killed the attacker once she was cornered. Two have been identified as Officer Rex Engelbert and Officer Michael Collazo. A timeline posted by the Tennesseean says the attacker entered the elementary school at 10:11 a.m., shooting out the glass doors. A call to police came at 10:13.

By 10:23, officers were inside the school. They shot the attacker at 10:25. Metropolitan Nashville Police Chief John Drake told reporters that “someone took control and said, ‘Let’s go, let’s go.’” The department has released body camera footage that is harrowing.

Waiting to confront the attacker was the mistake last year in Uvalde, Texas. Nineteen children and two teachers were killed. “Three minutes after the subject entered,” the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety later testified, “there was a sufficient number of armed officers wearing body armor to isolate, distract and neutralize the subject.”

Officer Engelbert is a four-year veteran of the Nashville department. Officer Collazo has nine years under his belt. News reports say that neither had been in this kind of situation before. Few cops have.

But this is what police officers all across America know is a possibility every morning as they put on that uniform and kiss goodbye to their wives, husbands and children. Going to work is an act of courage for those who spend a career without seeing an active shooter. For all the political focus on bad or abusive cops, most are good men and women who face potential danger to protect the rest of us.

Indeed, and we should all be thankful for the good men and women in uniform. Read the whole thing here.

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