'We kept walking toward the sound of gunfire': Nashville officers detail how they stopped school shooter
The officers describe how their training kicked in when they entered the school building
By Bill Carey
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Metro Nashville Police Department officers who ended the mass shooting at a private Christian school in Tennessee that left six people dead spoke publicly for the first time about their training and stopping the shooter.
Detective Sgt. Mathes and three of the detectives from his unit were among the first to enter the school on the morning of the shooting, ABC News reported. Mathes described how his training kicked in, recounting how he had to block out the sadness of stepping over a victim.
"All of us stepped over a victim,” Mathes said, “I, to this day, don't know how I did that morally, but training is what kicked in."
Officer Rex Engelbert was at the Metro Police Academy for business, which put him in the Midtown section of the city at the time of the shooting. "I really had no business being where I was,” Engelbert said, “I think you can call it fate or God or whatever you want, but I can't count on both my hands the irregularities that put me in that position when a call for service came out for a deadly aggression at a school.”
Detective Michael Collazo, who works for Mathes, was completing administrative tasks when the call came in.
Upon arrival, Collazo encountered two school employees of the school who led him toward where the shooter entered the building.
Mathes said he entered with "purpose" knowing how serious the situation was based on the number of calls about a shooting.
"We just heard the sounds and from my training experiences, I knew those sounds to be rifles," Mathes said.