Footage from the bodyworn cameras of Metro Nashville Police Officers Rex Engelbert, a four-year veteran, and Michael Collazo, a nine-year veteran, was released on Tuesday morning – hours after six victims were killed in Monday’s horror attack.
The footage shows the officers arriving at The Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee, and entering through a locked door.
Once inside, the officers move from classroom to classroom, clearing each room while searching for the shooter, as sirens emergency alarms ring out overheard.
While clearing the rooms, gunshots are heard being fired elsewhere in the elementary school building.
After less than three minutes from when they entered the school, the officers encounter Hale in front of a window in the atrium on the second floor of the school
Gunfire is exchanged and Hale, a 28-year-old former student, is shot dead by the two veteran officers.
“Stop moving! Stop moving!” an officer is heard shouting.
“Get your hands away from the gun!” shouts another.
The officers then announce “suspect down” as Hale’s body is seen on the ground.
The officers were part of a team of first responders who rushed to the school campus on Monday in response to a 911 call for an active shooter at 10.13am.
The entire massacre was over within around 14 minutes – with Hale shot dead at 10.27am.
By that time, three young children and three staff members were dead.
Students Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and William Kinney – all aged nine – and three staff members Katherine Koonce, 60, Cynthia Peak, 61, and Mike Hill, 61, were all killed in the attack.
Police have identified the suspected shooter by their name at birth; Hale reportedly was a transgender man who used he/him pronouns, though law enforcement officials initially described the suspect as a woman in the aftermath of the shooting.
Police did not provide another name but on the suspect’s social media accounts they refer to themselves as Aiden.
The killer’s motive still remains unclear but Metro Nashville Police Chief John Drake said in a press conference on Monday that the mass shooting was “targeted” and planned.
Hale had drawn a detailed map of the school ground, including potential entry points to the building, and carried out surveillance of the building prior to massacre, he said.
A “manifesto” was also found during a search of Hale’s home.
“We have a manifesto, we have some writings we’re going over that pertain to this day, the actual incident,” said the police chief.
“We have a map drawn out of how this was all going to take place. There’s right now a theory that we may be able to talk about later but it’s not confirmed, and so we’ll put that out as soon as we can.”
He added that investigators believe the shooter had “some resentment for having to go to that school”.
On Tuesday morning, Chief Drake told CBS Mornings that Hale was also believed to have planned to carry out other attacks on a local mall and targeting family members.
“We strongly believe there was going to be some other targets, including maybe family members, and one of the malls here in Nashville,” said the police chief.
“And that just did not happen.”
Some maps “pertaining to maybe some thinking about some other incidents” had been discovered during a search of the shooter’s home, he said.
Hale allegedly drove to the elementary school just after 10am on Monday morning armed with two assault rifles and a handgun.
There, Hale broke into the school building by shooting through the glass side doors and climbing inside.
Once inside, the shooter stalked the corridors, killing three small children and three staff members.
Responding officers fatally shot the assailant at 10.27am – 14 minutes after the first 911 call came in.
A friend of Hale has since revealed that the shooter sent some chilling final messages warning that “something bad is about to happen” just minutes before the shooting unfolded.
Averianna Patton said that Hale sent the messages via Instagram at 9.57am on Monday morning, revealing plans to die by suicide and saying that she would soon be reading about the upcoming events “on the news after I die”.
“One day this will make more sense,” Hale wrote.
“I’ve left behind more than enough evidence behind. But something bad is about to happen.”
Ms Patton, a former middle school basketball teammate of Hale who shared the messages with NewsChannel5, contacted the Suicide Prevention Help Line as well as the Nashville Davidson County Sheriff’s Office to tell them about the situation.
She said she was told by the sheriff’s office to contact Nashville’s non-emergency number.
At 3.29pm, an officer finally came to her home to speak to her, she said.
By that point, she had learned from the news and from friends what Hale had done.
Hale – an illustrator and graphic designer who attended Nossi College of Art – does not appear to have had any criminal record prior to Monday’s massacre.
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