Things That Matter

Caught on Camera: An Oregon High School Coach Stopped A Student With A Shotgun With A Hug

School staff and students all across the nation undergo preparedness training for mass shootings. These are school shooting drills (just the same as fire drills and earthquake drills) that are now part of the new normals due to the increase in school shootings. However, an exercise can only prepare you so much. There’s no way to truly prepare yourself for a real-life shooting until you’re confronted with one. That’s what happened at an Oregon high school that, fortunately, was spared a mass shooting.

A football coach, who also works as security for a high school in Oregon, came face-to-face with a student holding a shotgun. New footage shows that the coach prevented a shooting by dealing with the student with kindness instead of violence.

Credit: @_SJPeace_ / Twitter

Back in May, 19-year-old Angel Granados-Diaz took a shotgun to Parkrose High School in Portland, Oregon. He allegedly told police that he didn’t take the gun to shoot his classmates but instead to kill himself. 

Keanon Lowe, head football and track coach, was in the class with Granados-Diaz. Newly released footage shows that Lowe didn’t tackle the student in order to disarm him, as early reports indicated. He instead embraced him, took him out of the class, while another man gently took the shotgun away from Granados-Diaz. 

The video footage shows the coach calmy hugging the teen and deescalating the situation by showing him respect and kindness.

Credit: timkmak / Twitter

“In that time, I felt compassion for him,” Lowe said in an interview with Fox 6. “A lot of times, especially when you’re young, you don’t realize what you’re doing until it’s over.”

Granados-Diaz is currently on probation but is getting mental health and substance abuse treatment. 

Lowe recalled the situation to KATU2 News and said the confrontation with Granados-Diaz happened pretty quickly, and he had to assess the situation as best as he could. 

“Pretty crazy situation,” Lowe told KATU2. “In a fraction of a second, I analyzed everything really fast, saw the look in his face, looked at his eyes, looked at the gun, I realized it was a real gun and then my instincts just took over. Then it was just me and that student,” he added. “It was a real emotional time. It was emotional for him, it was emotional for me.” 

Lowe said that Granados-Diaz surrendered to him, which is when another man was able to take the shotgun away. 

“I let him know that I was there for him. I told him I was there to save him. I was there for a reason, and this is a life worth living,” Lowe said.

Interestingly enough, the school didn’t want to release the footage of the coach embracing the student during the dramatic confrontation.  

Credit: @DanTilkinKOIN6 / Twitter

As we previously noted, reports back in May said that Lowe tackled the student in order to disarm him. The school security footage shows something completely different. 

We assume the school didn’t want to show the difference in tactics, perhaps to show that confronting an armed student in such a manner could be dangerous. However, the school said they didn’t want the footage released to protect the privacy of the students. 

“We learned last night that the security video footage of the May 17th incident at Parkrose High School was released by the district attorney’s office to KOIN news,” Parkrose Superintendent Michael Lopes-Serrao wrote on Twitter. “It is important to know that Parkrose School District denied this request from KOIN for the public record this past week. We denied this request because we believe the release of the video is a violation of student rights through the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). In addition, the release of the video has a significant impact on the students, staff, and families of Parkrose High School. This was a traumatic event for our students, staff, and community.”

Several news outlets were able to obtain and show the footage because videos confiscated by police become public records. The footage also gives people the awareness that there are positive ways to prevent school shootings without anyone getting hurt. What’s the alternative? We saw how a police officer that was at the Parkland High School in Florida ran away from the school shooter instead of trying to stop it. His cowardness costed the lives of 17 students and school workers. Lowe is a perfect example that prevention with compassion is possible. 

Check out the incredible footage below.

READ: From School Shootings To Change: Here’s What’s Happened Since The Tragic Shooting In Parkland, Florida

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Emma González Is In A New Documentary About Gun Control Called ‘Us Kids’

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Emma González Is In A New Documentary About Gun Control Called ‘Us Kids’

Two years ago in 2018, American activist Emma Gonzalez marked the headline of every news organization. As a victim of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland Florida, Gonzalez garnered national attention on February 17, 2018, after giving an 11-minute speech at a gun control rally in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In the days, weeks, months, and years since delivering her speech, Gonzalez has made waves with her activism.

Now, the activist who is now in college is the star of a documentary directed by Kim A. Snyder called Us Kids.

Us Kids, which received a nomination for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival this past January is available to be screened on the Alamo Drafthouse virtual screening platform.

Us Kids is available to be screen on Alamo on Demand on October 30.

The film follows the stories of the students behind Never Again MSD. The student-led organization is a group advocating for regulations that work to prevent gun violence and includes Latino activists like Emma González and Samantha Fuentes. Both teens are survivors of the shooting that took place Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florid where 17 students and staff members were killed by a gunman.

In a review about the film, Variety writes that it “primarily celebrates that resilient, focused energy from teenagers who proved perhaps surprisingly articulate as well as passionate in thrusting themselves into a politicized spotlight. It’s more interested in their personalities and personal experiences than in the specific political issues wrestled with. Like ‘Newtown,’ this sometimes results in a repetitious directorial expression of empathy, particularly in the realm of inspirational montages set to pop music. Still, the subjects are duly admirable for their poise and intelligence as Snyder’s camera follows them over 18 months, in which they go from being “normal-ass kids doing normal-ass things” to a high-profile movement’s leading spokespeople.”

The trailer for the documentary was released on Oct. 22 and introduces the survivors of the shooting.

Fuentes, who was an 18-year-old senior at the time of the shooting, speaks about her experience recalling that “I was thinking about how we were going to get out if he was going to come back, was I going to die.”

“As compelling as Hogg and González are (and as touching as their friendship is — they’re each other’s biggest boosters), it might’ve been nice if ‘Us Kids’ had itself strayed farther from the mainstream media narrative in emphasizing less-familiar faces. Considerable screen time is dedicated to Samantha Fuentes, who was hit by bullets but lived while close friend Nick Dworet died next to her,” Variety explains. “She provides a relatable perspective in being occasionally less-than-composed in the public glare (we see her upchuck at the podium a couple times). Still, there are peers frequently glimpsed in the background who never seem to get a word in, while Snyder keeps the established, semi-reluctant ‘stars’ front and center.”

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A 13-Year-Old Boy Was Shot Point-Blank, Unprovoked In His Front Yard; His Family Demands Answers From Police

Things That Matter

A 13-Year-Old Boy Was Shot Point-Blank, Unprovoked In His Front Yard; His Family Demands Answers From Police

Brayan Zavala/Photo: GOFUNDME

A family in Riverdale of Clayton County, Georgia is expressing frustration at the lack of progress the police have made in finding the killer of 13-year-old son Brayan Zavala. “We want justice,” said Brayan’s 16-year-old brother, Jesus. “We want to find whoever killed my brother so he can go to jail and pay for what he did.”

According to the deceased boy’s family, last Thursday, Brayan had been working on the front lawn with his brother and father when a masked gunman approached the property. The gunman didn’t answer when Brayan’s father asked him what he wanted. Instead, unprovoked, the stranger took out his shotgun and shot Brayan at point-blank range in the face. Stunned, the family tried to fight for Brayan’s life as the gunman fled the scene.

“The shooter didn’t even say I want your money, or this is a robbery or I’m assaulting you. He just came, stood there (in) silence and shot my brother.” his 16-year-old brother, Jesus, explained to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “We tried to stop all the blood but by the time the police got here, it didn’t seem like he had life or a chance to live.”

The children of Mexican immigrants, the death is especially tragic. “We decided to live here for a better life, turns out it is worse,” Jesus told local news station Fox 5. “This is just like Mexico. They kill because they wanna kill. That is what just happens.”

According to Jesus, Brayan was a A-student on the honor roll, always trying to stay out of trouble. “Me, my brother, my sister, we study and then do our chores, and study. We’re just focused on doing the things, you know, productivity. And going somewhere,” said Jesus told local news station Fox 5.

“He was a cheerful kid. Always smiling, joking. Like I said, always avoiding problems instead of causing problems. I don’t know why this happened to him.”

The senseless killing has shaken the community who don’t understand what would provoke an inexplicable murder of a child. Law enforcement, as well, can’t make sense of it.

“As a Clayton County police officer for over 38 years very little shocks me. But, this brutal, senseless murder has overwhelmed me,” a Clayton County Police officer named Doug Jewett wrote to the AJC. “I send my prayers to the family.”

As of now, the family is trying to pick up the pieces of their life, setting up a GoFundMe page to finance Brayan’s funeral costs. The Clayton County police department has asked anyone with information to call (770) 477-4479. As of now, no suspects have been reported or arrested, and the family is calling for justice.

“It’s been a week now since my brother died and I haven’t heard anything, no answers from police,” Jesus told Atlanta 11 Alive news. “It makes me feel really frustrated that they don’t think it’s a big deal. I mean, they killed my little brother.”

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