Dr. Katherine Koonce, the headmistress of The Covenant School in Nashville, courageously confronted the shooter in the tragic event where six lives were lost, including three 9-year-old children.
When the alarm sounded after the shooter broke through the entrance, 61-year-old Dr. Koonce reportedly ran towards the danger. Nashville Metro Council representative Russ Pulley praised her bravery on social media and highlighted her preparedness, as she had implemented active shooter training and protocols at the school.
“I am grateful for the heroic efforts of the school staff and our police department,” said Pulley, a former special agent for the FBI and former state trooper, on Facebook. “The headmaster, Dr. Koonce, upon hearing the first shots, ran toward the danger. She also made sure the school was prepared with active shooter training and protocols.”
According to Pulley, Koonce was on a Zoom call when she heard the first shot, immediately ended the call, and went to confront the shooter. The active-shooter training she introduced reportedly saved many lives.
“It is my understanding from a witness at the school that Katherine Koonce was on a Zoom call when she heard the first shot. She immediately ended the call, got up and headed straight for the shooter,” Pulley told Fox News Digital. “She did what principals and headmasters do; she protected her children. In addition, she prepared the school by seeking advanced-level active-shooter training, and from witnesses at the scene, this protocol – details of which I cannot provide – saved countless lives.”
“There was a confrontation, I’m sure — you can tell the way she was lying in the hallway,” Nashville Police Chief John Drake told reporters on Tuesday.
National Police Association spokesperson Sgt. Betsy Brantner Smith emphasized the remarkable collaboration between the teachers and the police, attributing their calm response to their panic-resistant nature.
“There are certain people that are panic-resistant people, teachers, doctors, nurses, cops, firefighters, street reporters, there are certain people who are drawn to certain jobs that are panic resistant. And teachers are in that category,” Smith added. “So, what you had is the police response, and then you had these teachers who obviously had trained, obviously discussed this. And they worked so well with the police officers, and they provided the right information at the right time and obviously risked themselves.”
Pulley also applauded the teachers and staff for their composed handling of the children after the shooting, noting that the children seemed to be doing as well as could be expected under the circumstances.
“I was at that scene and observed them calmly handling the children like it was another day at school. After all the children were reunited with their parents, the staff became emotional. But while they had their children, they were amazingly doing what teachers and administrators do: take care of their children. And those children seemed to be doing as well as they could under the circumstances,” he said.