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Chief: Nashville bodycam ‘perfect training video’ for police

(NewsNation) — Police in Nashville took roughly 14 minutes to neutralize the shooter inside The Covenant School, a response that has drawn praise from area residents, as well as elected officials and law enforcement across the country, including in Connecticut.

There, Plainville Police Chief Christopher Vanghele says the body camera footage from officers who stormed the school is a “perfect training video” for officers practicing a response to an active shooter. Vanghele is one of the first police officers who responded to the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

“I’m very proud to be a police officer today,” Vanghele said Tuesday on “CUOMO.”

“Watching that body camera, it’s a perfect training video for officers to watch when they’re practicing law enforcement response to an active shooter officer. (Metropolitan Nashville Police Department Officer) Rex Engelbert is really a true hero.”

The bodycam footage shows Engelbert, a four-year veteran, and Michael Collazo, a nine-year veteran, responding to the active shooter alert and navigating through the Covenant campus Monday morning. 

Engelbert is seen clearing the halls, urgently moving the team through the search for the suspect. He heard gunshots coming from upstairs and rushed to the second floor.

There, officers found Hale and Collazo’s bodycam footage revealed the moment officers, including Collazo, shot and killed the suspect.

“He took charge as soon as he got out of his vehicle,” Vanghele said of Engelbert’s command of the scene. “They ran to that danger; there was no waiting. I mean, he was taking those steps three at a time, and he went right in there and took out the shooter, which is exactly what you’re supposed to do. It was pretty much textbook.”

The Nashville response is a stark contrast from the one in Uvalde, Texas, where last year, 19 students and two teachers at an elementary school were shot and killed by a gunman.

State Sen. Roland Gutierrez, who represents Uvalde, is among those lawmakers who have repeatedly criticized the response of officers, who took more than an hour to neutralize the shooter. Surveillance footage from inside the school shows officers stood in a hallway while the shooter was barricaded inside a classroom, still sporadically firing.

Authorities have also been slow to release information about the Uvalde response, leaving the community with more questions than answers.

“The second thing that we see in Nashville is the quick transparency. Within 24 hours, we see it all,” Gutierrez said. “Here we are, 10 months later (after Uvalde) … and we don’t get to see any of that bodycam footage. We don’t get to see all of the failures that have occurred.”

The Nashville shooting has again sparked debate over gun control reforms, on which Gutierrez hopes to see some movement.

“We don’t have politicians that have the fortitude to come to the middle on this space,” he said. “I’m not suggesting let’s take people’s guns away, but let’s have common sense gun-safety solutions.”

NewsNation writer Devan Markham contributed to this report.

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