(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) — Nashville police have released dramatic body camera footage from two officers who fired at the shooter who killed three children and three adults in a mass shooting at a small, private Christian school.
The video shows the officers entering the Covenant School Monday morning and following the sound of the gunfire to the second floor. They found the suspect — identified by police as Audrey Hale, 28, of Nashville — in a lobby area on the second floor, police said.
After an officer shouted “reloading,” the video shows officers Rex Engelbert, a four-year veteran, and Michael Collazo, a nine-year veteran, firing at the suspect.
Hale was shot dead about 14 minutes after the initial 911 call came in, according to police.
“They didn’t hesitate at all,” Metropolitan Nashville Police Chief John Drake said of the officers on Good Morning America Tuesday.
The slain children were identified by police as Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs and William Kinney, all 9 years old. The adult victims were identified as 61-year-old substitute teacher Cynthia Peak, 61-year-old custodian Mike Hill and 60-year-old Katherine Koonce, who was head of the school.
“Yesterday was just a tragic event,” Drake said. “I’ve done this job for 35 years and I prayed that this would never, never be a day that we would have to deal with.”
Authorities believe the suspect was a former student, and while the school was likely targeted, Drake said it appears the “students were randomly targeted.”
The suspect was armed with at least two assault-style rifles, a handgun and “significant ammunition” on Monday, police said.
Hale had legally purchased seven guns from five different local gun stores, the chief told reporters on Tuesday.
Hale allegedly shot through a locked door on the side of the building to gain entry, according to police. As authorities responded to the scene, the suspect fired on police cars from a second-floor window, police said.
The victims were found in different locations, Drake said. The custodian was struck when the shooter sprayed rounds at the glass door to enter, Drake said, and the head of school was found in the hallway.
Investigators searched Hale’s home where they seized “a sawed-off shotgun, a second shotgun and other evidence,” according to police.
“We do have writings and a book we consider to be like a manifesto,” the police chief said of Hale. “We do have a map of the school, where it was diagrammed how she would enter and how she might proceed to take on potential victims.”
“We have not been able to determine a motive as of yet,” the chief said. “The investigation is very much still ongoing.”
There is also “some speculation that the shooter did reach out to maybe a friend or some other people,” Drake said, “but as of right now that’s unconfirmed.”
“We’ll continue picking up where we left off yesterday and see where it leads us,” he added. “As soon as we know more, we’ll continue to put the facts out there.”
Drake had told reporters on Monday that the suspect was female and identified as transgender but didn’t immediately provide more details. A police spokesperson later told ABC News that the suspect was assigned female at birth but pointed to a social media account linked to the alleged shooter that included the use of the pronouns he/him.
The Covenant School, which teaches preschool through sixth grade, does not have a school resource officer, according to police. There are about 209 students and 40 to 50 staff members.
In a statement released Monday night, the Covenant School said its community “is heartbroken.”
“We are grieving tremendous loss and are in shock coming out of the terror that shattered our church and school,” the school said. “We are focused on loving our students, our families, our faculty and staff and beginning the process of healing.”
“There’s nothing more gut-wrenching than responding to a child,” Nashville Fire Chief William Swann told ABC News’ GMA3. “That moment changes everything for you, because we all can relate to the innocence of it.”
President Joe Biden on Monday called the shooting “a family’s worst nightmare.”
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stressed that Congress must take action on gun legislation.
“What we need from congressional Republicans is courage,” she told ABC News’ GMA3 on Tuesday. “What do you say to those parents? What do you say to those families? You can’t say to them, ‘There’s nothing else that can be done.’ That’s not what their job is as legislators.”
The “majority of Americans want common sense gun safety laws, they want to see [an] assault weapons ban. These are weapons of war,” she said. “The president has done his part. We need Congress to do their part.”
ABC News’ Alex Faul, Matt Foster, James Hill, Doug Lantz, Molly Nagle, Darren Reynolds, John Santucci and Moe Zoyari contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.