Police are positioned outside Parkrose High School Parkrose High School during a lockdown after a man armed with a gun was wrestled to the ground by the school’s football and track coach. (Dave Killen/The Oregonian via AP)
A high school football and track coach who once starred at wide receiver for the Oregon Ducks is being hailed as a hero for stopping a shooting a high school in Portland.
Keanon Lowe, who works as a security officer at Parkrose High School, confronted and subdued a student who brought a concealed rifle to class before the student could point the weapon at anyone or fire a shot.
“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,” Lowe tweeted on Saturday.
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.
— Keanon Lowe (@KeanonLowe) May 18, 2019
“When confronted with the test the universe presented me with, I didn’t see any other choice but to act,” he continued in a subsequent tweet. “Thank God, I passed. I’ve spent the last 24 hours being more appreciative of my family and realizing we have a serious problem.
“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. Thank you @PortlandPolice for your help.”
Students alerted school officials that a classmate had displayed troubling behavior in recent days, intimating a desire to hurt himself and acquire firearms, according to The Oregonian.
Lowe sought out the student at his government class, but he was not there, classmates said. Ten minutes before the class ended, police say 18-year-old Angel Granados Dias arrived wearing a long coat and pulled a rifle from beneath it. Students and teachers fled the classroom through a back door.
“At some point, a staff member at the high school confronted him,” police said in a statement. “A Portland Police School Resource Officer and other officers arrived and immediately entered the school and found the staff member detaining the subject in the hallway.”
Parkrose HS seniors Preston Anderson, 17, & Sair Nunez, 19 said they were in their government class in the Fine Arts building when a male classmate came in with a gun and was subdued by Keanon Lowe, a coach at the school. pic.twitter.com/aKU4zPj8XD
— Everton Bailey Jr. (@EvertonBailey) May 17, 2019
That staff member was Lowe, who is in his second year working at the school. He previously worked as an offensive analyst for the San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles and coached at his high school alma mater, Jesuit High, in Portland.
At the University of Oregon from 2010 to 2014, he was a three-year starter at wide receiver, catching 68 passes for 891 yards and 11 touchdowns.
As a redshirt senior, he was named the team’s “most inspirational player” and earned a reputation as a fan favorite for unselfish blocking habits and jubilant celebrations of teammates’ accomplishments.
Football players at Parkrose described Lowe as someone who has already made a sizable impact on the school in his short time there, according to The Oregonian. After a winless season in 2017, Lowe led the Broncos to the playoffs in 2018, his first on the sideline.
Keanon Lowe worked for the San Francisco 49ers before taking his position at Parkrose High School. (AP Photo/File)
“He pushes everyone to be the best versions of themselves,” one player told the newspaper.
After speaking with police Friday once students were reunited with parents, Lowe said he was tired and wanted to go home to see loved ones. The Oregonian reported two men stopped to shake his hand in the parking lot, and one woman hugged him and said, “Thank you.”
“I’m just happy everyone was okay,” he told reporters. “I’m happy I was able to be there for the kids and for the community.”