Tragedy was narrowly averted on Friday when an Oregon high school coach risked his own life to save others from a would-be shooting.
When he spotted a student in a classroom doorway, shotgun in tow, Parkrose High School security guard and coach Keanon Lowe, 27, “lunged for the gun,” he said. He fought to grab hold of the weapon and contain the situation, and students were frantic as they escaped, he recalled Monday at a news conference.
“I saw the look on his face, the look in his eyes,” Lowe explained. “I looked at the gun, I realized it was a real gun and then my instincts just took over.”
The former footballer, who currently serves as the school’s head football and track coach, was eventually successful in his efforts to disarm the student. Lowe held the gunman down as he passed the gun to a teacher, keeping the gunman in a bear hug while they awaited police.
The teen was “distraught” during the wait for police, according to Lowe, who said, “It was emotional for him, it was emotional for me. In that time, I felt compassion for him. A lot of times, especially when you’re young, you don’t realize what you’re doing until it’s over.”
The coach assured the teen he “was there to save him … and this was a life worth living.”
Amazingly, and unlike so many similar situations, nobody was hurt. Authorities aren’t even certain the gun was shot, though this is still being investigated.
The suspect, Angel Granados-Diaz, turned 19 behind bars Monday, the same day he pleaded not guilty for the felony of possessing a weapon in a public building along with three misdemeanors. Held on $500,000 bail, he will appear in court again next week. The incident is considered a “suicide attempt with a gun,” according to a police report, wherein someone added, “enhanced bail/suicidal.”
A staff member had been alerted by two students of Granados-Diaz’s “concerning behavior” before Friday’s incident, according to Parkrose School District Superintendent Michael Lopes-Serrao. In fact, he said, school security personnel were responding to the warnings when he stood in the classroom doorway.
“The universe works in crazy ways so I just happened to be in that same classroom,” Lowe said. He was responding to a radio command to head to the classroom to “get a student,” who was not there when he arrived. Just before Lowe left, Granados-Diaz entered. “I was within arm’s length of him so it happened fast and I was able to get to him.”
Lowe, who started working at Parkrose in 2018, was a star footballer at the University of Oregon before working as an analyst for both the San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles.
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