Keanon Lowe, who prevented what could’ve been a massacre, wants to be a part of the solution to gun violence.
A distraught student wearing a black trench coat and carrying a shotgun entered Parkrose High School. Before 18-year-old Angel Granados Dias could fire the weapon, a fast-acting Black security guard, Keanon Lowe, tackled him to the ground.
“As soon as I heard what happened I knew it was him because he would do anything for these kids. It was surreal to be waiting for my athletes behind caution tape today, but might have been much worse if not for Keanon,” Olivia Katbi Smith wrote on Twitter.
Elijah Reginald, 18, one of the students said of Lowe, who is also the track and field coach, “I think he deserves a lot of credit for his bravery. If it wasn’t for him, someone could have gotten hurt or potentially lost their life.”
Dias was separated from his weapon and restrained by Lowe until police booked him into 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, the Portland Police Bureau said. He is being held on $500,000 bail.
Hailed as a hero, Lowe, a former star wide receiver for the University of Oregon Ducks and former staffer with the San Francisco 49ers, tweeted his desire “to be a part of the solution to school gun violence.”
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 #ParkroseHighSchool
— Keanon Lowe (@KeanonLowe) May 18, 2019
In a city where racism has been well documented in the community and in the police force toward people of color, a Black hero is a welcome report.
Though police nor the school have formally acknowledged Lowe, praise has not only come from students.
Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr said in an interview that we should be thankful for the brave actions and asked for the security guard’s name:
Steve Kerr’s full comments on @KeanonLowe stopping a school shooting at Parkrose High School here in Portland pic.twitter.com/zMWfOtt4dn
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) May 18, 2019
“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.
Police spokesman Sgt. Brad Yakots declined to confirm Lowe’s reported involvement.
The outcome was “the best-case scenario, absolutely,” Yakots said. “The staff member did an excellent job by all accounts, (and) our officers arrived within minutes and went right in.”
Portland Police Chief Danielle Outlaw said in a statement,” I commend the school staff member who displayed quick actions and bravery when he confronted the subject. The officers and school staff worked together to respond quickly and ensure the safety of all involved.”
Parkrose School District Superintendent Michael Lopes Serrao said to parents in a letter that two students had informed a staff member of “concerning behavior” by the student who brought the gun.
“Thanks to their heroic efforts all students and staff are safe,” Lopes Serrao wrote.