Marine infantry veteran with Nashville police helped take down active shooter
Nashville police officers have been praised for their quick response.
When a shooter attacked a Christian elementary school in Nashville, Marine veteran Michael Collazo ran toward the sounds of gunfire to quickly stop the armed assailant’s rampage.
Collazo served in the Marine Corps from 2010 to 2016 as an 0311 Infantry Rifleman, according to his service record. He left the Corps as a sergeant and his last duty station was with the 3rd Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, 4th Division in Smyrna, Tennessee.
His awards include the Selected Marine Corps Reserve Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.
Reached by phone on Wednesday, Collazo referred Task & Purpose to a spokesman for the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department. A police spokeswoman said Collazo is not granting interviews to the media right now.
Three children and three adults were killed on Monday at The Covenant School in Nashville. The suspected shooter has been identified as Audrey Hale, 28, who was killed by police. Hale was a former student of the school.
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Nashville police officers and other first responders have earned widespread praise for stopping the school shooting so quickly. Hale was reportedly killed roughly 14 minutes after the first 911 call about an active shooter at The Covenant School.
“I want to commend the police who responded incredibly swiftly – within minutes – to end the danger,” President Joe Biden told reporters on Monday.
Nashville police tweeted on Tuesday that Collazo, who has served with the department for nine years, and fellow officer Rex Engelbert had both fired on Hale during the incident.
Video released by Nashville police shows footage from Collazo’s body camera as he entered The Covenant School on Monday and coordinated room-to-room searches with his fellow police officers:
“Rifle first,” he advises a police officer before he starts to clear a classroom.
The police move quickly and methodically to clear every room and then move to another floor.
“Keep pushing,” Collazo says.
Within seconds, the police hear gunshots. Collazo’s body camera also shows a victim’s body on the floor. The image is pixelated to avoid showing the victim’s identity.
“Shots fired! Shots fired! Shots fired! Move!” Collazo tells the others.
They reach a corner, and a loud bang is heard. Collazo tells a police officer that Hale is to his right.
The police officer opens fire at Hale as Collazo and the others advance. When they reach another corner, they fire again at Hale.
One officer yells “Clear!” and then Collazo warns “Watch out! Watch out!” before firing his pistol four times at Hale, who is on the floor.
“Stop moving! stop moving!” Collazo yells at Hale.
He moves over to Hale and yells “Suspect down! Suspect down!” as he takes a rifle out of Hale’s hands.
Collazo is a patrolman with paramedic training who sometimes provides medical care at crime scenes, according to the Nashville police department. He received a commendation award from the department in 2021 and is expected to receive a lifesaving award in April for an event that took place in 2022.
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