An Oregon high school shooting was prevented on Friday by the school’s football and track coach, who police say tackled the suspect before he could get a single shot off.
It happened at Parkrose High School. Police said a suspect, who students have identified as an 18-year-old student there, walked into the high school armed with a shotgun.
Apparently Keanon Lowe, the coach who is also a security guard at the school, saw him and tackled him.
“I’m just happy everyone was OK,” Lowe told local media outlets.
He walked out of the school about four hours after the incident.
“I’m happy I was able to be there for the kids and for the community.”
Portland police have not publicly identified the suspect, but did say he is an adult.
“I can’t thank the man enough who got the gun away from that boy,” mom Desiree said. “To save my child as well as all these others.”
According to police spokesman Sgt. Brad Yakots, the school was evacuated and a nearby middle school was on lockdown for several hours as the investigation unfolded.
The school was searched room by room and students were not allowed to have access to their personal items for a time.
According to Yakots, the outcome was “the best case scenario, absolutely”.
“The staff member did an excellent job by all accounts, (and) our officers arrived within minutes and went right in.”
School officials say the student was exhibiting “concerning behavior” that led two fellow students to report him to school staff.
Students said the man entered their government class in the school’s fine arts building – separate from the main building – just before noon. Apparently Lowe had been in the classroom earlier looking for the man after he was reported.
Senior Justyn Wilcox was in the room when it happened. He said 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.
Student Alexa Pope said the student didn’t point the gun at anyone, but that 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 said.
That’s when Lowe jumped into action, tackling and disarming him.
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 – he also saw playing time on special teams.
He became an offensive analyst for the San Francisco 49ers and as an analyst for the Philadelphia Eagles after college.
Lowe was hired at Parkrose last year as the school’s head football and track and field coach, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Prior to that, he worked for his high school alma mater, Jesuit High.