A high school coach is making waves for the way he responded to an armed student bringing a loaded shotgun on the premises.
The incident occurred in May and saw Keanon Lowe manage to disarm now-19-year-old Angel Granados-Diaz, who brought a shotgun concealed under a jacket into Parkrose High School in Portland, Oregon. In the months since then, the newly released surveillance footage has now gone viral.
Footage shows Granados-Diaz walking into the school’s fine arts building and students fleeing for their lives. Minutes after the then-18-year-old enters the building, Lowe, a football and track and field coach who works as a security guard, goes to check on the student, unaware that he has a weapon.
“In a fraction of a second, I analyzed everything really fast. I saw the look in his face, look in his eyes, looked at the gun,” Lowe recalled to reporters as seen on “NBC Nightly News” Saturday.
According to prosecutors, Granados-Diaz tried to fire the weapon on himself before Lowe got it away from him. As the former star wide receiver for the University of Oregon Ducks is seen backing up with the gun away from the student, he then hands the shotgun to a teacher. Then the coach and student share an lengthy hug.
“I told him I was there to save him, I was there for a reason and this was a life worth living,” explained Lowe, who NBC News reported had been an analyst for the San Francisco 49ers before a friend’s drug overdose led him back into education.
Meanwhile, Granados-Diaz pleaded guilty to two charges in Multnomah County court Oct. 10, KOIN reported. The former high school student was given a 36-month probation sentence under pretrial agreement for one count of unlawful possession of a firearm in a public building and one count of unlawful possession of a loaded firearm in public. The gun had one round.
“It is fair to say that some depression and mental health issues played a role in this incident,” said defense attorney Adam Thayn. He added that the young man had been drunk when he brought the gun to campus.
Granados-Diaz is barred from entering the high school while on probation and will receive treatment for mental health and substance abuse.
As news of how Lowe responded to Granados-Diaz spread online, many have poured out with praise.
“When a coach is also a teacher… and an even greater human being. These are the ones we should praise, not the multimillionaires.”
“Not all heros wear capes 👍”
“We need more people like this coach. Love, strength and compassion”
Still, Parkrose released a statement expressing disappointment that the video was released after Parkrose School District denied KOIN’s public record request for the footage.
“This was a very traumatic event for our community and the release of the video helps no one involved,” it said in part.
A statement from the district attorney issued to The Guardian Saturday read, “the video was released yesterday afternoon pursuant to a public records request first submitted by KOIN-TV in Portland, Oregon upon the adjudication of this case. We have no additional comment.”
However, those online have still hailed the coach as a hero and remarked on the positive outcome of Lowe’s presence.
“That coach is a hero.”
“While I understand and agree with the points you’ve made, it is a nice change of pace while also setting an example to the world these situations can sometimes be disarmed before becoming hostile.”