When coach Keanon Lowe found 18-year-old Angel Granados-Diaz wielding a gun on school grounds, he acted quickly and with immense empathy.
The United States is, unfortunately, the mass shooting capital of the world. As lawmakers and activists continue to fight for commonsense gun laws, episodes of gun violence are sadly still rampant across the country. Recently, news media outlets have stumbled upon CCTV footage recorded at Parkrose High School in which a football coach is seen talking down a high school student with a gun, reassuring him, proceeding to disarm him, and finally embracing him in a tight hug. The coach, Keanon Lowe, is now being lauded as a hero for disarming the student, 18-year-old Angel Granados-Diaz. The footage was recorded in May earlier this year, KOIN 6 News reports.
Breaking News: video of Coach Keanon Lowe disarming Parkrose High School gunman Angel Granados-Diaz. More to come. pic.twitter.com/d7wK9ES6zi— Dan Tilkin (@DanTilkinKOIN6) October 19, 2019
The video was obtained by the news channel on Friday, October 19, from the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office through a public records request. In the footage, Lowe, who also works as a security guard at the high school, is seen nearly crossing paths with Granados-Diaz in the hallway as he walks into the fine arts building on campus to retrieve a student. The coach explained, "I walk in there, I get to the classroom, I’m in the classroom for 15, 20 seconds — you know, I ask the teacher, ‘Is the student here?'"
You can see Coach Keanon Lowe walk down a hallway and the gunman follows him seconds later. https://t.co/QycIhiRqSS pic.twitter.com/cQZf1dJfLI— Dan Tilkin (@DanTilkinKOIN6) October 19, 2019
He then opens the door to find Granados-Diaz mere steps away - with a shotgun in his hand. "The door opens — I’m within arm’s length of the door, about 3 feet away from the door, and there’s a kid with a gun, a shotgun," Lowe described. "In a fraction of a second, I analyzed everything really fast. I saw the look [on] his face, look in his eyes, looked at the gun, realized it was a real gun and then my instincts just took over." According to the coach, running away was never an option for him.
Police searched the hallways of Parkrose high school for the gunman. Coach Keanon Lowe had already taken the gun away https://t.co/Dxw1oA44tb pic.twitter.com/clXBs4M8nl— Dan Tilkin (@DanTilkinKOIN6) October 19, 2019
Lowe, thinking on his feet, acted quickly. He stated, "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." Once he grabbed the gun, the coach handed it to a teacher and proceeded to wrap the student into a tight embrace. While other students and teachers ran for safety and police officials rushed to the scene, Lowe stood there giving Granados-Diaz his undivided attention.
Alexa Pope, a student, explained, describing the moment of panic they experienced, "I can see him coming into the room with just a gun in his hand. It was terrifying, it was truly terrifying." Another student, Annie Vong, added, "We all hid, we hid under some clothes and stuff, too, just in case anything would happen." However, Lowe was mostly concerned about Granados-Diaz and wanted to reassure him. "I felt compassion for him," the coach stated. "A lot of times, especially when you’re young, you don’t realize what you’re doing until it’s over."
The student pleaded guilty to gun charges on October 10. According to the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office, Granados-Diaz was intoxicated when he entered the school premises. The gun he was weilding was loaded with one round of bullets. As per officials on-ground, he never pointed the gun at anyone else other than himself. It is believed that the student brought the gun to campus during a mental health crisis; he had made suicidal statements to another person prior to bringing the gun onto school premises. In light of the context of events, Granados-Diaz was handed a 36-month probation sentence under a 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 by a Multnomah County court. Meanwhile, coach Lowe is being celebrated as a local hero — and rightly so.