Now, they are applauding the former Oregon Ducks football star for what unfolded outside the classroom just moments after the disarmament: an act of compassion.
Newly released surveillance video captures Lowe pulling then-18-year-old Angel Granados-Diaz into a hallway while holding the gun away. He grips the teenager close, passing the weapon off to another man who sprints up to help.
Then, Lowe wraps the student in a hug.
For a few seconds, the student seems to try to pull away, stepping back and pushing at the coach’s shoulders. But Lowe holds on tightly. Eventually, the embrace is returned.
It lasts nearly half a minute. The men are still locked together as they move out of the security camera’s view.
Granados-Diaz had been suicidal for months leading up to the encounter, according to the Multnomah County district attorney. The high school senior was lonely after breaking up with his girlfriend, Oregon Live reported, citing friends and classmates.
He planned to commit suicide at school so that his mother would not discover his body, his defense attorney, Adam Thayne, told a judge last week, according to Oregon Live. He went to Parkrose on May 17 with a shotgun holding just one round, marked with the words, “The last red pill 5-17-19 just for me."
“Fate had something else in store for him,” Thayne said.
School officials had already gotten wind of Granados-Diaz’s troubled state of mind, according to the district attorney. A student had told the administration of Granados-Diaz’s “suicidal statements;” Lowe set out May 17 to bring the teenager into the school office.
Granados-Diaz was “visibly upset” as he headed for the classroom where Lowe had just showed up while searching for him, the district attorney said. Granados-Diaz pulled the firearm from beneath a long coat, authorities say, as teachers and students fled.
Granados-Diaz turned the gun on himself and tried to fire, according to the district attorney — but the weapon did not discharge.
Lowe made sure Granados-Diaz didn’t get another chance.
In May, Lowe described an “emotional” moment with Granados-Diaz, saying that after he took the gun, “it was just me and that student.”
“It was emotional for him, it was emotional for me,” he said, according to local news station KATU. “In that time, I felt compassion for him. A lot of times, especially when you’re young, you don’t realize what you’re doing until it’s over."
Lauded as a hero, Lowe tweeted that he took his jobs at Parkrose “to guide and coach young people whose shoes [he] had once been in.”
“When confronted with the test the universe presented me with, I didn’t see any other choice but to act,” he wrote. “Thank God, I passed. I’ve spent the last 24 hours being more appreciative of my family and realizing we have a serious problem.”
Lowe has not tweeted about the new surveillance footage, and he did not respond immediately to an inquiry Saturday. But video of his intimate moment with Granados-Diaz — released by the district attorney Friday in response to a public records request — has drawn a new wave of praise online.
“This is love and courage,” one person said.
“A cry for help that was answered,” said another. The district attorney says Granados-Diaz brought the gun to school in a “mental health crisis.”
Granados-Diaz’s lawyer emphasized those health struggles in a statement to The Washington Post, pointing to Granado-Diaz’s depression and “a mixture of circumstances in his personal life.”
“The video footage recently released essentially confirms much of what we already knew about Keanon Lowe’s decisive, courageous, and compassionate actions,” Thayne said.
Now 19, Granados-Diaz pleaded guilty last week to unlawful possession of a loaded firearm in public, the district attorney said in a statement. He was sentenced to 36 months of probation, which includes mental health and substance abuse treatment.
“He is deeply remorseful for the pain that he has caused his family, his friends and the community,” Thayne reportedly told the presiding judge, adding that Granados-Diaz “has a lot of people who care about him, despite what he thought back in May."