A particularly moving video has been circulating the Internet this Sunday, showing the emotionally-charged moment when a football coach disarming a student carrying a shotgun, then hugged him.
As Buzzfeed reports, the footage comes from Parkrose High School in Oregon, USA and details an incident that occurred there in May 2019.
In the video, coach and security guard Keanon Lowe is seen retreating from a classroom with the shotgun in his hand. As he walks backwards, he keeps his attention on the previously-armed student, Angel Granados-Diaz, who Lowe is holding with his free hand.
Another teacher runs into the hallway and takes the gun from Lowe. The football coach then hugs the distraught 18-year-old, who breaks down into tears.
At the time, Lowe spoke to press sharing that his “instincts just took over” when he realised what was happening.
“I lunged for the gun.”
“I think I’ve gone through stuff in my life that prepared me for that moment and I’m lucky and I’m happy that I was in that classroom for those kids and I was able to prevent that tragedy. I don’t know if ‘hero’ is the right word, but the universe works in mysterious ways and I was meant to be in that classroom, and I was meant to stop a tragedy.”
On the conversation he shared with Granados-Diaz, Lowe told media:
“I told him I was there to save him. I was there for a reason and that this is a life worth living.”
It’s pretty incredible to see. Not only because of the stakes at hand, and the compassion Lowe shows towards the young man, but because it is truly terrifying to see exactly what school kids and staff need to be prepared for in the United States.
As Vox reports, since Sandy Hook in 2012 (which led to the deaths of 26 people – 20 of them children), there have been 2,263 more mass shootings.
In this case, the people inside Parkrose High School were lucky they had someone with the skills and bravery of Lowe on hand to de-escalate the situation. But it’s horrifying to know that in a place where children are learning, Lowe’s actions are even needed at all.
Buzzfeed shares that Granados-Diaz pled guilty to gun charges and was sentenced to 36-months’ probation for unlawful possession of a firearm in a public building and unlawful possession of a loaded firearm in public.
The now 19-year-old is required to undergo mental health and substance abuse treatment. He is forbidden from entering Parkrose High School while he completes his sentence.