A high school football coach in Oregon is once again being hailed as a hero after a video emerged this week capturing the moment he disarmed and embraced a student wielding a shotgun.
Keanon Lowe, a football coach who doubles as a security guard at Parkrose High School, was dispatched one day last May to search for 18-year-old Angel Granados-Diaz after the student told a classmate that he had suicidal intentions.
Dressed in a trench coat and carrying a shotgun, Granados-Diaz left a bathroom and entered a classroom where he should have been attending class.
Lowe found him moments later, and security footage from outside the classroom shows the seconds after Lowe wrestled the gun from Granados-Diaz. Lowe holds the shotgun in one hand while he keeps his other hand on the student. When another school employee runs to take the gun from Lowe, he embraces Granados-Diaz in what looks like an effort both to calm the student and keep him from leaving.
Law enforcement arrived soon after to take Granados-Diaz into custody.
“I kind of assessed that situation and my instincts kicked in. I lunged for the gun and we both had the gun,” Lowe told Good Morning America after the incident occurred in May. “We had four hands on the gun and students are running out of the back of the classroom.”
“I’m just trying to make sure that the end of the gun isn’t pointing towards where the students are running and also not pointed at myself,” he said. “I ended up getting the gun from him, with my right hand, and holding him off with my left hand and calling for a teacher to grab the gun from me.”
Portland police hailed Lowe’s actions as heroic.
“This was a best-case scenario,” Portland Police Sergeant Brad Yakots said at the time. “The staff members from all accounts did an excellent job.”
A subsequent investigation found that Granados-Diaz was suffering a mental health crisis when the incident occurred.
“Through the course of the investigation it became clear to law enforcement and our office that Mr. Granados-Diaz did not have the intent to hurt anyone other than himself while at Parkrose High School,” Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Parakram Singh said.
Granados-Diaz had only loaded one shell in the magazine, and students reported that he was pointing the shotgun at himself. He purchased the shotgun legally and had carried it to school in a garment bag, according to KATU.
He pled guilty to one count of unlawful possession of a firearm in a public building and one count of unlawful possession of a loaded firearm in public. He was sentenced to three years probation along with mental health and substance abuse treatment.
Whatever Granados-Diaz’s intentions, Lowe is glad to have been in the right place at the right time.
“To be around the kids and to be there for the community and in that moment, I was called upon and I just reacted and like I said, instincts kicked in and I was able to, you know, make something good that could have been very, very tragic,” he told Good Morning America.
“I feel like I was put in that room for a reason. You know, the shooter didn’t — he didn’t know that I was in that room when he opened the door and I think there are things in my life that have prepared me for that very moment,” Lowe said. “I thank God that no one got hurt and I thank God I was in that room.”