Chicago hometown reacts to UD grad who helped take down Nashville school shooter

Brother calls Rex Engelbert a ‘gentle giant.’

A University of Dayton graduate who grew up in Chicago was one of the lead police officers who took down the Nashville elementary school shooter.

Rex Engelbert, 27, is a four-year veteran of the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department. He graduated in 2018 from UD with a degree in criminal justice.

Credit: Metropolitan Nashville Police Department

Credit: Metropolitan Nashville Police Department

He responded Monday morning to The Covenant School after a 28-year-old former student shot out a door and ducked inside before fatally killing three 9-year-olds and three staff members.

Edited body-worn camera footage from Englebert, only available on YouTube due to graphic content, shows a woman greeting police outside as they arrive at the school. “The kids are all locked down, but we have two kids that we don’t know where they are,” she said.

“OK. Yes, ma’am,” Engelbert said before the woman directed officers to Fellowship Hall and said people inside had just heard gunshots. “Upstairs are a bunch of kids,” she said.

Englebert is one of three officers armed with long guns who search rooms one by one, then rush upstairs to a lobby area before a barrage of gunfire.

“Get your hands away from the gun,” an officer yells twice. Then the shooter is shown motionless on the floor.

Engelbert’s mother, Annemarie Engelbert, said, “I am so proud of Rex and all the first responders with their courage and bravery. My heart goes out to the innocent lives lost and their families. We are keeping them in our prayers.”

In his hometown of Chicago, Engelbert is praised as a hero on local news social media sites.

Of the many comments:

“You can tell he was trained and ready for that moment to save lives. … Rex literally just made the tutorial on how to address school shootings”

“He didn’t even hesitate to run in there and save people, that’s the kind of protect and serve we need.”

“This is the hero that we’ve missed in many other situations as tragic as this. Thank you officer.”

Englebert’s brother Kevin, the oldest of five children, told NBC Chicago he was proud of his brother.

“He just followed his training and is glad that his training kicked in and his fortitude withheld,” Kevin Engelbert said.

His brother moved to Nashville to be with his fiancée. He is now on leave, which is standard procedure following such incidents.

“He’s incredibly passionate about what he does. He’s always been a gentle giant and he’s always there for those in need,” Kevin Engelbert said.

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