High school coach stops armed suspect before any shots fired
A suspect, believed to be a student, walked into an Oregon high school armed with a shotgun and was tackled by the school’s football and track coach before any shots were fired, CBS Portland affiliate KOIN reports. No one was injured in the incident and police said there were no more suspects.
Keanon Lowe, who is now a football and track coach and security guard at Parkrose High School, told reporters as he was leaving a police interview late Friday that he was tired but relieved at the outcome, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.
“I’m just happy everyone was OK,” Lowe said as he walked out of the school about four hours after the incident, according to The Oregonian/OregonLive. “I’m happy I was able to be there for the kids and for the community.”
Portland police have not identified the suspect at this time but said he is an adult.
“I can’t thank the man enough who got the gun away from that boy,” mom Desiree told KOIN. “To save my child as well as all these others.”
Lowe didn’t reply to messages sent on Twitter or LinkedIn from the Associated Press.
Police spokesman Sgt. Brad Yakots said a firearm was recovered at the scene. The school was evacuated and a nearby middle school was on lockdown for several hours as the investigation unfolded.
The school was searched methodically, room by room, KOIN reports. Students were not allowed to have access to their personal items for a time.
The outcome was “the best case scenario, absolutely,” Yakots said. “The staff member did an excellent job by all accounts, (and) our officers arrived within minutes and went right in.”
School officials told KOIN the suspect was exhibiting “concerning behavior” that led two fellow students to report him to school staff.
Students recounted how a man entered their government class in the school’s fine arts building – separate from the main building – just before noon. Lowe had been in the classroom earlier looking for the man, whom other students identified as an 18-year-old senior at Parkrose.
About 10 minutes before the end of class, the student appeared in the doorway in a black trench coat and pulled out a long gun from beneath his coat, senior Justyn Wilcox, who also was in the room, told The Oregonian/OregonLive.
The student didn’t point the gun at anyone, Alexa Pope said.
Students fled out the back door because the gunman was blocking the main doorway.
“As I was running, I was just like, Lord don’t let this be it,” Pope told the newspaper.
In college, Lowe was a star wide receiver at the University of Oregon, playing from 2011 to 2014. He caught 10 touchdown passes in his college career and had nearly 900 receiving yards and also saw playing time on special teams.
After college, he worked as an offensive analyst for the San Francisco 49ers and as an analyst for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Lowe began working at Parkrose last year as the school’s head football and track and field coach, according to his LinkedIn profile. Before that, he worked for his high school alma mater, Jesuit High, where he earned state defensive player of the year as a defensive back and was a standout sprinter.