Parkrose High coach lauded as ‘hero’ in gun confrontation

UPDATED > This incident shut down and evacuated Parkrose High on May 17. Learn more about how their coach wrestled away a shotgun from a student …

Inside this building, in outer East Portland called the Parkrose High School “Art Annex”, officials say a student walked in, carrying a shotgun.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

When staff members at Parkrose High School (PHS) spotted a student coming onto campus toting a shotgun, just before noon, on May 17, PHS Football Coach Keanon Lowe took action.

Portland Police Bureau (PPB) Gun Violence Reduction Team investigators determined said that an adult male, a student at Parkrose High, entered a classroom in the school’s “Art Annex” – the free-standing building some distance west of the main campus, a building that was once the auto shop.

As seen through the tennis court fences, Portland Police SERT officers are on the move near the art building.

In that building, Coach Lowe tackled the suspect, and held his head down with one hand and the gun down with the other, according to student witnesses.

“The Coach tossed his walkie-talkie to call another staff member, who let everyone else in the school know what was going on,” the student said.

Nearly 100 law enforcement units converge on the school.

“Arriving officers determined that a Parkrose High School staff member had wrestled the suspect to the ground,” confirmed PPB Public Information Officer Sgt. Brad Yakots.

“Our School Resource Officers were close by, and were soon joined by other officers, who took the person into custody,” Yakots said at a press conference held at Parkrose Middle School. “And yes, the suspect did have a firearm, and that we have recovered.”

Answering questions at a press conference is PPB Public Information Officer Sgt. Brad Yakots.

While the suspect was being taken into custody at the west end of the campus, school staff moved the student body to the east end of the campus, where busses coming in from NE 121st Place picked the up and took them to be reunited with their parents in the Kmart parking lot, about two blocks north of the school along NE 122nd Avenue.

Yakots reported that – although there was no indication of additional suspects with weapons on the campus – the PPB Special Emergency Reaction Team (SERT) arrived to search the campus, room-by-room.

The investigation is underway with the Portland Police Mobile Command Center is parked on NE 115th Avenue, at the west edge of the campus, serving as the communications hub for the incident.

The responding SERT officers were supported by as many as 90 law enforcement units, including those from the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, and at least two units from the Federal Protective Service.

“We have not yet determined if any rounds were fired,” Yakots informed.

While often-tearful reunions were taking place in the Kmart parking lot, members of the PPB Gun Violence Reduction Team took over the investigation. “The suspect is being interviewed by officers right now,” Yakots told reporters that afternoon.

Others call him a hero, but PHS Football Coach Keanon Lowe says he was just helping his community.

When walking out of the school later that afternoon, Coach Lowe, a wide receiver for the Oregon Ducks for four seasons starting in 2010, told reporters that he was happy that no one had been injured, and that he was glad to be able to “be there” for the school community.


This is the shotgun police say they took from the armed student at Parkrose High School. PPB image

Booked two Misdemeanor and two Felony charges related to this incident is 19-year-old Angel Granados Dias.

At  5:51 a.m. the following morning, Sgt. Yakots revealed, “Gun Violence Reduction Team detectives booked 18-year-old Angel Granados Dias, [his age is shown as 19 at Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC) records].

Granados Dias was booked at 12:03 a.m. on charges of Possession of Firearm in a Public Building, Attempting to Discharge a Firearm at a School, Reckless Endangerment, and Possession of a Loaded Firearm in a Public Place. He is currently being held at MCDC on $500,000 bail; Granados Dias won’t be arraigned until Monday.

© 2019 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™



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