Security video shows children sprinting out of the woods and across a busy street as they fled a shooting Monday at The Covenant School in Nashville.
A home Nest camera captured the moment cars stopped in the middle of the road as a group of children emerged from the woods less than a half-mile from their school. Sirens could be heard blaring in the background.
Three 9-year-old students, Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs and William Kinney, were killed in the attack, as were substitute teacher Cynthia Peak, 61, school head Katherine Koonce, 60, and custodian Mike Hill, 61.
The 28-year-old shooter, a former student at the private Christian school, was fatally shot by Officers Rex Engelbert and Michael Collazo.
More on the Nashville school shooting
Jason Hoffman saw the group crossing the road Monday morning, got out of his car and tried to stop other traffic so they could pass, he said.
He could hear and see the students crying.
“I just saw fear,” he said. “I saw these kids are screaming, they’re crying. And I had no idea what was even happening. But I knew that it wasn’t good.”
Actor Melissa Joan Hart said she and her husband, Mark Wilkerson, were driving to a parent-teacher conference at their children’s nearby school when they saw children running away from The Covenant School.
“We helped a class of kindergartners across a busy highway. They were climbing out of the woods. They were trying to escape the shooter situation at their school,”‘ she said through tears in an Instagram video. “So we helped all these tiny little kids cross the road and get [to] their teachers. … We helped a mom reunite with her children.”
She continued: “I don’t know what to say anymore. Enough is enough. And just pray. Prayer for the families.”
Police said the shooter was armed with two AR-style weapons and a handgun and shot through a locked school door to enter. Police got their first call about the shooter at 10:13 a.m. local time.
When they arrived, officers heard gunshots coming from the second floor and “immediately went to the gunfire,” a police spokesperson said. Body camera video police released Tuesday morning shows the moment Engelbert and Collazo confronted and killed the shooter.
Authorities also said the shooter carefully planned the attack with detailed maps and surveillance and left behind writings that are being studied by local and federal investigators. There were also indications that the shooter had planned to target other locations, police said.
A motive remains unclear, although the police chief said “resentment” may have played a role.