‘Didn’t see any other choice:’ Former college football standout reportedly tackled gunman at Oregon high school
PORTLAND, Ore. — Keanon Lowe, head football and track coach at Parkrose High School in northeast Portland, is being hailed as a hero after tackling a gunman in a classroom Friday, May 17.
Lowe was a standout receiver for the University of Oregon and played for the Ducks between 2010 and 2014, according to the school’s athletic website.
Neither police nor the school identified Lowe as the staff member who subdued the gunman, but that was reported by CNN affiliate KPTV. CNN tried to reach Lowe but was not successful.
A Portland police press release said a male student armed with a shotgun entered a classroom just before noon Friday and a staff member confronted the gunman. By the time officers arrived, police said, the staff member had detained the gunman in the hallway. The student, who was not identified by authorities, is in police custody.
“At this time, it has not been determined if any shots were fired,” the release said.
Police arrested Angel Granados Dias, 18, in connection with the incident. Dias has been charged with possession of a firearm in a public building, attempting to discharge a firearm at a school, reckless endangerment and possession of a loaded firearm in a public place, according to a release from the Portland Police Bureau.
A criminal defense attorney entered a not guilty plea on Dias’ behalf in Multnomah County Circuit Court Monday, according to the local district attorney’s office.
Dias remains in custody, the DA’s office said. His next court date is scheduled for May 29.
Portland Police Chief Danielle Outlaw said incidents like this strike “the worst fear in the hearts of students and parents.”
“The officers and school staff worked together to respond quickly and ensure the safety of all involved,” Outlaw said. “I commend the school staff member who displayed quick actions and bravery when he confronted the subject.”
Parkrose High School was placed on lockdown for over two hours after the incident. Parents picked up students at an off-campus reunification site, according to the Parkrose School District.
Officials made an effort to get school life back on schedule, with Principal Molly Ouche saying on Twitter that the school would hold its prom as scheduled on Saturday.
On Twitter Saturday, Lowe said that when he signed up to be a security guard, football and track coach, he didn’t know he’d have to put his life on the line for his students.
“When confronted with the test the universe presented me with, I didn’t see any other choice but to act. Thank God, I passed,” Lowe said. “I’m blessed to be alive and extremely happy that the students are safe. I’m not sure what’s next, I haven’t had the time to really think about it. But I am sure I want to be a part of the solution to school gun violence.”