(NewsNation) — Deanna DeHart always knew her younger brother, Michael Collazo, an officer with the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department, was brave.
But it wasn’t until she saw body camera footage of him running toward gunfire and taking down the shooter who killed multiple people at a private Nashville Christian school that she find out how courageous he truly was.
“We’re all very proud of him,” DeHart told NewsNation in her first on-camera interview. Even that, though, is “probably an understatement,” she added.
Three children, three adults and the suspected shooter died Monday after the attacker sprayed bullets at The Covenant School. Police later announced on Twitter that it was Collazo, who worked for the MNPD for nine years, and Rex Engelbert, another officer, who shot and killed the suspect.
“What they all did was extremely brave,” DeHart said of the other first responders. “Every single one of them, not just Michael. But as the big sister to that one — our hearts are just huge.”
Since the shooting, the community has grieved together but also celebrated first responders’ actions that day. It took 14 minutes for officers to respond to and neutralize the attacker.
“I think law enforcement in connection with this particular shooting did a miraculous job,” former FBI Special Agent Stuart Kaplan previously told NewsNation. “The people that went into that building certainly rose to the level of being heroes. My hat’s off to them.”
Now, two days after the shooting, Collazo is doing “as well as can be expected” amid such a sad situation.
“He’s aware that he has a lot of support behind him, but is also aware that it’s a terrible situation to have to go through for anybody,” DeHart said.
A Marine veteran who has worked as a paramedic with the police department’s SWAT team, Collazo was prepared for what happened on Monday, his sister said. It’s not the first time he has worked on such a dangerous incident — Collazo also responded to the Christmas Day, 2020, bombing in Nashville.
“I’m fully confident that he will get everything that he needs from the police department, from the community,” DeHart said. “I hope Nashville loves on every one of these officers.”