Coach on stopping gunman at Portland high school: ‘My instincts just took over’

PORTLAND, Oregon — Former University of Oregon football star Keanon Lowe said he had just entered a classroom at the Portland high school where he works as a coach and security guard when a student armed with a black shotgun appeared in the doorway.

Lowe had just seconds Friday to react. He lunged at the gunman and wrestled with him for the weapon as other students ran screaming out a back door, Lowe told reporters Monday at a news conference.

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Lowe said he managed to get the gun away from the student and pass it to a teacher while Lowe held down the student with his other hand. Lowe wrapped the student in a bear hug until police arrived, he said.

No one was injured. Police are still trying to determine if any shots were fired.

“I saw the look on his face, the look in his eyes, I looked at the gun, I realized it was a real gun and then my instincts just took over,” Lowe, 27, said.

“I lunged for the gun, put two hands on the gun and he had his two hands on the gun and, obviously, the students are running out of the classroom.”

Lowe, who is head football and track coach at Parkrose High School, said he had a few moments with the teenager, who was distraught, before police arrived.

“It was emotional for him, it was emotional for me. In that time, I felt compassion for him. A lot of times, especially when you’re young, you don’t realize what you’re doing until it’s over,” Lowe said.

“I told him I was there to save him, I was there for a reason and this was a life worth living.”

The suspect, 19-year-old Angel Granados-Diaz, pleaded not guilty Monday during a brief court hearing to a felony count of possessing a weapon in a public building and three misdemeanours.

Granados-Diaz turned 19 in jail on Monday, the same day students at Parkrose High returned to class after an emotional weekend that included their prom.

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