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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