‘I didn’t see any other choice but to act’: Former 49ers coach opens up after hugging armed gunman


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Parkrose High School students and parents are calling their football coach a hero after he took down an armed student at school on Friday. 

Coach Keanon Lowe tackled the young man who other students had expressed concerns about earlier in the day.

“I’m just sitting in class. Our security guard comes in — he was looking for the suspect,” student Alexa Pope said. “Second person comes in with a trench coat and has a big gun in his hand.”

Lowe reportedly went for the shotgun and disarmed the student, detaining him until police arrived.

“My friend Preston said that Coach Lowe, our football coach, tackled the kid so he wouldn’t be able to do anything with the gun,” senior Annie Vong said. “I’m glad that he tackled the kid, but I’m also disappointed this happened to begin with.”

In a series of tweets published Saturday, Lowe said he “had no idea, that I would one day have to put my life on the line like I did yesterday for my students.” 

The coach added that the incident made him realize “we have a serious problem.” 

Lowe coaches the football and boys track and field teams. He was also described by students as a member of the school’s security team. 

“I can’t thank the man enough who got the gun away from that boy,” mom Desiree told KOIN 6 News. “To save my child as well as all these others.” 

Lowe is a 2010 Jesuit High School graduate who was a wide receiver for the Oregon Ducks from 2010-2014. 

Lowe showed leadership abilities on and off the field during his four years with the Ducks. He had 11 touchdown catches including one during the 2015 National Championship game against Ohio State. 

Since then, he landed jobs in the NFL, coaching under Chip Kelley for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2015 and the San Fransisco 49ers in 2016.

Lowe has been the head football coach at Parkrose since 2017. 

“He really cares about us so I’m not surprised,” freshman Caden Perry told KOIN. “He is a great guy and always makes us do our best, so I believe he was just doing what he had to do.”

Senior football player Des’smen Pooler said Lowe has always been a role model on and off the field.

“I don’t know what would’ve happened if Coach Lowe wouldn’t have tackled him or brought him down in the first place,” Pooler said. “It makes me look up to him even more. Seeing that he would go out of his way to do something like that for a person, for all of the students at Parkrose. Makes me feel like I’m in a safe environment.”

Police recovered the gun and took the suspect — who was later identified as 18-year-old Parkrose High School student, Angel Granados Dias — into custody. 

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