A former NFL assistant coach put his defensive skills to the test Friday when he tackled a student brandishing a shotgun at an Oregon high school, preventing a school shooting and potentially saving lives.
Keanon Lowe, who was once a star wide receiver at the University of Oregon and later worked as an offensive analyst for the San Francisco 49ers, tackled 18-year-old Angel Granados Dias to the ground Friday after witnesses said he pulled a shotgun out of his black trenchcoat while standing outside the door of a government class at Parkrose High School, The Oregonian reports.
Lowe, who works as the football coach, head track and field coach, and security guard at the school, said he was “just happy everyone was OK” shortly after the suspect was apprehended by authorities.
“I am happy I was able to be there for the kids and for the community,” he told the local paper.
Witnesses told The Oregonian they had been sitting in their government class when they saw a student appear in the doorway of the classroom wearing a long black trench coat. Justyn Wilcox, 17, said the student pulled a long gun from underneath his coat.
Alexa Pope, 17, said she and Wilcox fled out of the classroom’s back door into another classroom after seeing the gunman.
“As I was running, I was just like, ‘Lord don’t let this be it,’” she said.
Superintendent Michael Lopes Serrao said earlier in the day two Parkrose students had told a staff member they were concerned about one of their peers.
“Our security guard responded and found the student with a gun and quickly disarmed the student,” he said in a letter sent to parents. “Thanks to the heroic efforts all students and staff are safe.”
Lopes Serrao said the student, who was later identified by police as Dias, would not be returning to the high school.
The Portland Police Bureau said Dias has been booked at the Multnomah County Detention Center on suspicion of possessing a firearm in a public building, attempting to shoot a gun at a school, and reckless endangerment, according to the Associated Press.
Lowe later took to Twitter to reflect on his role in the dramatic exchange.
“When I signed up to be a Security Guard, Football and Track & Field Coach for Parkrose High School, I did so to guide and coach young people whose shoes I had once been in. I had no idea, that I would one day have to put my life on the line like I did yesterday for my students,” he wrote.
Lowe said he has spent the time since the incident being appreciative of his family and realizing the country has a serious problem. Although he’s not sure what’s next for him, Lowe said he hopes to part of the “solution” to school gun violence.
“When confronted with the test the universe presented me with, I didn’t see any other choice but to act,” he wrote. “Thank God, I passed.”
Fellow track coach Olivia Katbi Smith also took to Twitter to commend Lowe for his quick action.
“As soon as I heard what happened I knew it was him because he would do anything for these kids,” she wrote. “It was surreal to be waiting for my athletes behind caution tape today, but might have been much worse if not for Keanon. He IS a hero.”
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