An amazing video shows Keanon Lowe, the former Oregon Ducks wide receiver turned high school football coach, console and hug a gunman who entered the school. Lowe had just disarmed the youth.
Dan Tilkin, of KOIN-TV, broke the story of the video, obtaining it through an open records request. The television station reported that the “surveillance video” shows the moment that Lowe, a football coach at Parkrose High School, disarmed Angel Granados-Diaz of the weapon he’d brought into the school.
If you don’t remember this incident, it’s because it’s a school shooting that didn’t happen. The armed student was stopped, by Lowe, before anyone was harmed. It all unfolded on May 17, 2019 in Portland, Oregon. Here’s the video:
The video shows Lowe in a school hallway. He’s holding the suspect’s firearm in one hand when the video begins. He hands it to another man and then hugs and consoles the accused gunman in the hallway for a long period of time. Granados-Diaz hugs him back as they move further down the hallway. They speak to each other, but you can’t hear what’s said. The moment continues with more embraces. The powerful video had been viewed more than 65,000 times in less than the first hour after Tilkin posted it on Twitter.
What happened before the video starts? According to the Associated Press, Lowe “lunged at the gunman and wrestled with him for the weapon as other students ran screaming out a back door.” No one was injured, something credited to Lowe’s quick thinking.
“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,” Lowe, 27, told AP at the time. He also described what happened in the moments between the two, telling AP, “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.”
Here’s what you need to know:
People Praised Keanon Lowe as a Hero
People were deeply moved by Lowe’s actions. “@KeanonLowe, just when I thought heroes like you couldn’t go any higher in my esteem, I learned that you disarmed this troubled young man with a hug,” wrote one woman on Twitter. “This. Kid comes to school with a gun Keanon disarms him with a hug and compassion. We need more @KeanonLowe’s in this world,” wrote Kenton Olson, a digital and social media media director with the Seahawks.
What happened to Granados-Diaz? KOIN-TV reports that, according to officials, he only pointed the gun at himself and made suicidal statements before coming to school. His lawyer said he was drunk. A court gave him a “36-month probation sentence under a pretrial agreement,” the television station reported.
When he pleaded guilty in October 2019 to having a gun in a public place, both prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed that the threat Granados-Diaz posed was to himself, not the rest of the school. They said it was “not a thwarted school shooting, but a suicide attempt by a young man struggling with his mental health,” according to OPB.com. On a bullet casing, he had written, “The last red pill 5-17-19 just for me,” the article stated.
Keanon Lowe Is the School’s Head Football & Track Coach
Lowe’s LinkedIn page identifies him as the “Head Football Coach at Parkrose High School” in Portland. That’s a position he has held since 2018.
He is also listed as the head track and field coach from February 2019 to present. Lowe, who graduated from the University of Oregon, listed these past positions:
He was assistant football coach at Jesuit High School Portland (his alma mater) for a year, two months in Portland Oregon. He was an offensive analyst for the San Francisco 49ers from January 2016 to February 2017, and he was an analyst for the Philadelphia Eagles from February 2015-January 2016. He was a student athlete on the football team at the University of Oregon, in Eugene, Oregon, from 2010 to January 2015.
His bio page for the Oregon Ducks says, for 2014 (the most recent year he played there): “His contributions could not be documented merely by statistics despite looming as one of Oregon’s top three receivers through the first six games . . . Eclipsed his previous single-season bests for receiving yards (266) and touchdowns (4) by mid-October before completing the year fifth on the Ducks’ receiving chart (28 catches, 414 yds, 5 TDs) . . .”
The bio continued: “Yet it was his downfield blocking as well as his leadership skills that set him apart as he was voted by his teammates a share of Oregon’s Most Inspirational Player award . . . Caught three or more passes in each of four outings after opening the year with one grab for 18 yards against South Dakota . . . ”
The bio adds: “Included was a collegiate-best five catches for 104 yards and two touchdowns at Washington State in addition to latching onto scoring grabs vs. Michigan State, Arizona and Ohio State . . . The 11-game starter also converted touchdown catches of 37 and 57 yards against the Spartans and Cougars, respectively . . . Twenty-two of his 28 receptions resulted in first downs or touchdowns . . . Shared the lead in catches in three games and also returned one kickoff for 10 yards vs. South Dakota . . . Took part in more snaps than any other offensive teammate against Michigan State (82) and Arizona (84).”