One of the police officers who confronted and shot an assailant who killed six at an elementary school in Nashville is a Marine infantry veteran.
Body-camera footage released by the Metro Nashville Police Department shows Officer Michael Collazo running through The Covenant School on Monday toward active shooter Audrey Hale, 28, and helping Officer Rex Englebert take the shooter down.
Collazo served in the Marine Corps from 2010 to 2016 and departed as a sergeant, according to his service record, which was first reported by Task and Purpose.
As an infantry rifleman, Collazo earned the Selected Marine Corps Reserve Medal, National Defense Service Medal and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. His last duty assignment was at K Company, 3rd Battalion, 23rd Marines, a Reserve infantry unit located in Smyrna, Tennessee, according to his service record sent to Marine Corps Times by Marine spokeswoman Yvonne Carlock on Wednesday.
Collazo couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
Marine veteran Blake Morton said he has known Collazo since middle school and had him as a junior Marine serving under him in I Company, 3rd Battalion, 24th Marines, a Reserve unit.
“The discipline that he had was just unmatched compared to his peers,” Morton said.
And as a friend, Morton said, Collazo would go above and beyond.
“If you needed something and you’re broke down on the road, you know you could call him and he could pull you out or whatever,” Morton said. “He has no hate in his heart. Always just been a good dude.”
A six-minute video containing footage from both body cameras worn by Collazo and Englebert shows the men rush into the school and check classrooms on the first floor on Monday.
Then they run up the stairs to the second floor, where they confront Hale. Englebert is shown firing multiple shots at Hale, who falls to the ground. Collazo fires additional rounds at Hale.
“Stop moving. Stop moving,” Collazo shouts at Hale in the body camera footage.
Another officer yells at Hale, “Get your hands away from the gun.”
“Suspect down. Suspect down,” Collazo says before taking the rifle from Hale’s hands.
Hale killed six during a shooting rampage through the school. Police identified the victims as Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs and William Kinney, all 9 years old; Cynthia Peak, 61; Katherine Koonce, 60; and Mike Hill, 61.
“Yesterday, while we saw the worst of humanity, we also saw the best of humanity, in the police officers who ran into danger directly toward a killer with no regard for their own life, thinking only about those kids and those teachers and those administrators,” Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said in a video posted to his Twitter account Tuesday.
“Gratitude doesn’t begin to cover it,” Lee said.
Irene Loewenson is a staff reporter for Marine Corps Times. She joined Military Times as an editorial fellow in August 2022. She is a graduate of Williams College, where she was the editor-in-chief of the student newspaper.