PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — One year ago to the day, May 17, high school football coach Keanon Lowe disarmed a student with a gun at Parkrose High School.
On Friday, May 17, 2019, an 18-year-old student walked into the Portland high school shortly before noon armed with a shotgun. Initial reports from police indicated that when Coach Lowe ran into the suspect in the hallway, later identified as Angel Granados-Diaz, he tackled Granados-Diaz to the ground and prevented him from using the gun. School resource officers rushed in shortly after to detain the teen.
No one was physically injured in the incident, but emotions ran high as students were evacuated from the school and later reunited with their parents off-campus.
Months later, school security footage released from the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office first obtained by KOIN 6 News showed the dramatic moment in the hallway when Lowe disarmed Granados-Diaz.
Lowe, who also worked as a security guard at Parkrose at the time, said he had been called to the fine arts building on campus to get a student. The surveillance video showed Granados-Diaz cross paths with Lowe in a hallway. Granados-Diaz was only steps away with the shotgun tucked under his coat. Lowe said running away never crossed his mind.
“I lunged for the gun, put two hands on the gun. He had his two hands on the gun and obviously the kids are running out of the classroom and screaming.”
The football coach handed the gun to another teacher then wrapped Granados-Diaz in a hug.
“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,” Lowe later said in an interview.
Granados-Diaz later pleaded guilty to gun charges and was sentenced to probation. The gun had been loaded with a single round. Officials said he never pointed the gun at anyone other than himself. As part of his probation, the teen was ordered mental health and substance abuse treatment.
The spotlight has returned to Lowe numerous times since the initial incident. In the days that followed, Lowe was honored by the Portland Trail Blazers at the Moda Center during Game 4 against the Golden State Warriors. Then-Portland Police Chief Danielle Outlaw awarded Lowe with a Civilian Medal of Heroism and Mayor Ted Wheeler declared May 29 to be “Coach Keanon Lowe Day of Recognition” in his honor.
Later that same year, he was named as one of Time magazine’s “Heroes of the Year.”
Lowe has since left Parkrose High School. He now works as the head football coach at West Linn High School.