Nashville holds a vigil for the victims of this week's school shooting
A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:
Governor Bill Lee is urging Tennesseans to pray for the three children and three adults killed in a school shooting and also for their community. He did this by also vowing to discuss policy changes to avoid a repeat of such a tragedy.
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BILL LEE: We can all agree on one thing, that every human life has great value. And we will act to prevent this from happening again.
MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:
Police say the shooter had planned other targets, including a mall, and messaged a former basketball teammate minutes before the shooting, fantasizing about dying. The teammate tried to get help, but it was too late.
MARTÍNEZ: Rachel Wegner of The Tennessean joins us now from Nashville. Rachel, I know there was a vigil last night. What can you tell us about how it went?
RACHEL WEGNER: Yes, good morning. Last night, a vigil held in Mount Juliet, just outside Nashville, drew hundreds. There was a time of prayer, including prayer specifically for the teachers that were in the group. Folks bowed their heads, huddled together, placed hands on each other as they prayed. There's also a citywide vigil being hosted in Nashville by our mayor tonight.
MARTÍNEZ: Now, I know police released body cam footage. They did that yesterday. We want to play a clip from that. And I just want to warn everyone, it's sound from police officers' body cam footage.
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UNIDENTIFIED OFFICER: Go. Go. Go.
MARTÍNEZ: What have we learned from that footage?
WEGNER: So the footage released was from the point of view of two officers who responded to the scene. It was about six minutes total. So we start with officer Rex Engelbert as he arrives on the scene. You see a staff member directing him. Eventually, he works with a team of officers to clear the first floor of the building and then enters the second floor, which is where they encountered the shooter. You hear several shots coming from the hallway and then also as they round the corner and encounter the shooter. And then you see a blurred-out version of the shooter laying on the ground after the officers fatally shot them. And then the second point of view is from officer Michael Collazo - similar to the first point of view but from a different angle.
MARTÍNEZ: We also found out that the shooter had sent a message to someone before the shooting. What can you tell us about that?
WEGNER: So the shooter had messaged a former basketball teammate, I believe, from middle school saying, I want to die. Something really bad is going to happen. This will make more sense later. You'll probably hear about it on the news. So that friend quickly reached out to the Suicide Prevention Helpline and then was directed to reach out to the police. But by the time she did, the shooter had already entered the school. So it was sadly too late at that point.
MARTÍNEZ: And I mentioned earlier, Rachel, how the governor of Tennessee, Bill Lee, wants to take action. Did he say how he wanted to do that?
WEGNER: He did not. He did say they want to act to make sure this doesn't happen again. Governor Lee's wife was close friends with one of the substitute teachers who was killed in the shooting on Monday. They actually had plans to have dinner on Monday night. And that never happened.
MARTÍNEZ: All right. Rachel Wegner is a reporter with The Tennessean in Nashville. Rachel, thanks.
WEGNER: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.