Keanon Lowe was hailed as a hero for quickly wrestling a gun away from a student who entered a classroom at Portland, Oregon’s Parkrose High School in May. As he explained it to reporters shortly afterward:
“The door opens. I’m within arm’s length of the door, about 3 feet away from the door, and there’s a kid with a gun ― a shotgun,” Lowe said. “In a fraction of a second, I analyzed everything really fast. I saw the look in his face, look in his eyes, looked at the gun, realized it was a real gun and then my instincts just took over. I lunged for the gun, put two hands on the gun.”
As students screamed and began to run for their lives, Lowe, a football coach and unarmed security officer, said he remained focused on pointing the gun away from people before seizing it.
Now, school surveillance footage obtained by local news station KOIN 6 has revealed the radical empathy that overtook Lowe in the moments afterward, when he spoke to the gunman and wrapped him in a hug.
Video shows Lowe guide the student, then-18-year-old Angel Granados-Diaz, clad in a long black coat, out of the classroom and into the hallway. Another teacher takes the gun from Lowe and hurries it away. Granados-Diaz kept repeating himself, saying he did not want to hurt anyone but himself, Lowe told Sports Illustrated.
At one point the student yelled, “No one cares about me!”
“I care about you,” Lowe said, he told the magazine. When the teen questioned him, he responded, “I do, bro! That’s why I’m here. I got you, buddy.”
The touching scene came at a point after Lowe had brought Granados-Diaz to a sitting position around the corner from the classroom, visible in the video obtained by KOIN 6, a CBS affiliate. Police officers eventually arrived to arrest the teen.
Lowe told reporters shortly after the incident that he felt “compassion” for Granados-Diaz.
“A lot of times, especially when you’re young, you don’t realize what you’re doing until it’s over, right?” he said, adding that young people face issues surrounding mental health and easy access to guns that must be addressed.
Investigators say Granados-Diaz brought the weapon to Parkrose loaded with only one round, meant for himself. His lawyer said he was drunk at the time.
Granados-Diaz, now 19, pleaded guilty to gun possession charges earlier this month and was not sentenced to time behind bars. Instead, he was ordered to undergo mental health treatment and put on probation for 36 months.
CORRECTION: This article previously misstated the state in which the high school is located. It is in Portland, Oregon, not in Maine.