A Portland, Oregon, high school coach and security guard is speaking out after he lunged at an armed student, preventing further tragedy.
Keanon Lowe, a former University of Oregon football star, told the Associated Press that he had just walked into a classroom at Parkrose High School on Friday when he spotted the student in the doorway with a black shotgun.
“I saw the look on his face, the look in his eyes, I looked at the gun, I realized it was a real gun and then my instincts just took over,” the 27-year-old, who is head football and track coach, said.
Lowe lunged at the suspect, 19-year-old Angel Granados-Diaz, wrestling the weapon away from him as other students fled.
Lowe said he managed to pass the gun off to another teacher even as he held Granados-Diaz down in a bear hug until police arrived.
No one was injured in the incident, and police are still trying to figure out if any shots were fired.
Lowe said that the teen was distraught during the interaction, and expressed his compassion in the situation.
“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,” Lowe said. “I told him I was there to save him, I was there for a reason and this was a life worth living.”
Granados-Diaz pleaded not guilty on Monday to one felony count of possessing a weapon in a public building, and three other misdemeanors. He turned 19 in jail on Monday. His public defender declined to offer comment about the situation.
The 19-year-old is being held on $500,00 bail and is scheduled back in court next week.
According to Lowe, he was initially called to go to a classroom in the fine arts building to get another student. When he got there, the substitute teacher told him that that particular student wasn’t there. Lowe was about to leave when Granados-Diaz walked into the room.
“The universe works in crazy ways so I just happened to be in that same classroom,” he said.
“I was within arm’s length of him so it happened fast and I was able to get to him,” he added. “I’m lucky in that way.”