Parkrose parents, students react to gunman

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Students and parents were shocked, stunned and grateful after an armed gunman was wrestled to the ground at Parkrose High School in Northeast Portland.

The incident began around noon and ended when Parkrose High School football coach Keanon Lowe wrestled the gunman — who was later identified as 18-year-old Parkrose student, Angel Granados Dias — to the ground. School resource officers rushed to the spot and took Dias into custody.

Students reaction

Students had vivid memories of what happened in the time leading up to and during the incident.

Diamond said she was scared and no one knew what was going on. “There were all types of different stories.”

She said the suspect “told me he tried to commit suicide a couple times,” and he said “it was overbearing when you get ready to hurt other people.”

Diamond said she told a teacher about her concerns about the suspect 

Diamond’s mother, Elaine Higgins, said she arrived at the school to take her daughter to lunch but it was blocked off. 

“This is stressful, very stressful. I’m just thankful my kids are safe.”

Parents reaction

Parents pick up Parkrose High School students after gunman arrested

One parent, Jeskia Diaz, said she got messages from her daughters that there was a shooter at the school and “to come and get me.”

She said she left work and “just ran to get my kids,” and said she was panicking to get her child. Jessica said she was allowed to hug her daughter, but all the students were to be questioned before being released to parents.

Jeskia said her daughter said “the shooter came into her class.”

One grandmother who spoke with KOIN 6 News said, “This is not what you send your children to school for.”

A parent named Desiree said it’s been a worrisome process. 

“I got a phone call from my daughter that there was a shooting. She was in a classroom in a closet so of course I rushed down here, now I’m just waiting,” she told KOIN 6 News. “She actually facetimed me on Snapchat and said ,’Mom, there’s a shooting at the school but my daughter plays so many pranks so at first I thought it was a joke. But something in her voice kind of told me it was real and I grabbed my keys, my phone and ran out the door.”

Her daughter didn’t go into details but told her mom she heard a shot and “saw the coach tackle the person” before everyone was rushed into safe quarters.

“She said that (the coach) reached for the gun and then somehow tackled the young man to save them, to save everyone ultimately,” Desiree said. “I can’t thank the man enough that got the gun away from that boy to save that child as well as all of these others.”

Her husband said the entire incident was “just surreal. Like she said, I see it on TV and on the news, movies and I just couldn’t believe my kids was going through this.”

Desiree said she was going to “let my daughter process it the best she can right now and then have a discussion. Right now she just wants to go home and go to bed. I think that this is when the process is going to come in, when it’s going to really hit her like ‘Oh my God, this just happened.'”

Another parent, Cashaun, had a similar story of how she heard about the incident.

“He just said, ‘Mom, I love you, there’s an active shooter in the school.’ Yeah, that’s pretty much it. Yes, he said ‘Don’t come up here. I just want to let you know I love you’ and I’m like, I’m not just gonna sit at home. But I was asking him what’s happening, what’s going on, where are you, are you safe?'”

Her friend Jill said she “was driving right by here and when I started seeing all the ambulances police and fire vehicles it was just ‘Oh dear God, no!'” 

“The first thing is the negative comes first and then you can think later,” Cashaun said. “It can happen anywhere. Some stuff needs to change, some mental health the kids need to be taught some things.”

Jill spoke the words that many people feel.

“I hate it every time I hear it. The one that impacted me the most was Sandy Hook Elementary , and this recent one where a man threw his body at the shooter to protect the kids that died. I don’t know. We need to do something because it’s happening more and more and more and it’s so tragic and our students are our future. So we need to help the ones that need the help.”

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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