Perhaps not the recommended way to confront an armed student, a high school coach opted to fight back with a hug.
And, at least in this case, the hug prevailed.
In an incident that occurred five months ago at an Oregon high school, a distraught student came to school with a loaded shotgun under his jacket and the quick actions of Parkrose High School track and football coach Keanon Lowe prevented a possible suicide or mass shooting.
What’s more, the incident was caught on camera.
As seen in the clip above, Lowe takes control of the shotgun and handed it to another teacher, before embracing the student in a hug.
In an interview with KOIN, Lowe, who also serves as security at the school, explained what went down.
“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?’” he said. “The door opens — I’m within arm’s length of the door, about three feet away from the door, and there’s a kid with a gun, a shotgun. In a fraction of a second, I analyzed everything really fast.”
“I saw the look in his face, look in his eyes, looked at the gun, realized it was a real gun and then my instincts just took over,” Lowe added. “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.”
Here’s more of the remarkable coach’s interview with reporters:
KOIN reporter Dan Tilkin shared video capturing the dramatic moment Portland police enter the school, not knowing the gunman had been unarmed.
— Dan Tilkin (@DanTilkinKOIN6) October 19, 2019
The gunman, identified as Angel Granados-Diaz, 19, was reportedly distraught over a recent break up with his girlfriend and intended to commit suicide — there was only a single round in the gun. Not wanting his mother to find his body, Granados-Diaz had planned to do it at school.
Granados-Diaz’s lawyer said the teenager, who was 18 when he entered the school, was also drunk, KOIN reported.
In the face of the threat, Lowe said he felt “compassion” for the student, who was said to be suffering from mental health issues.
“I felt compassion for him,” he said. “A lot of times, especially when you’re young, you don’t realize what you’re doing until it’s over.”
Lowe had a successful college football career as a wide receiver at the University of Oregon. Playing from 2011-2014, he had 68 catches for nearly 900 yards, including 10 touchdown passes.
After pleading guilty earlier this month to one count of unlawful possession of a firearm in a public building and one count of unlawful possession of a loaded firearm in public, Granados-Diaz was sentenced to a 36-month probation sentence under a pretrial agreement.
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