Oregon High School Security Guard Given Citizen Honors Award

Keanon Lowe, the football coach and security officer who disarmed a distraught high school student, received the nation’s highest civilian honor.

Security camera video shows Parkrose High School football coach Keanon Lowe backing out of a room, holding a shotgun in one hand and holding onto a student with the other hand before the two embrace.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Keanon Lowe, a former security officer and football and track coach of Parkrose High School in Portland, Ore., was awarded the 2020 Citizen Honors Award by the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation last week for stopping a potential active shooter tragedy.

Lowe received the nation’s highest civilian honor for wrestling a rifle away from a distraught student and then hugging him last year, reports OregonLive (see video above).

On May 17, 2019, Angel Granados Dias, 18, pulled out a shotgun from under a black trench coat while in a classroom of his high school. He was upset but didn’t point the weapon at anyone. His classmates immediately fled the classroom.

“In a fraction of a second, I analyzed everything really fast,” said Lowe. “I saw the look in his face, look in his eyes, looked at the gun, realized it was a real gun and then my instincts just took over.”

Lowe was then able to disarm Dias. A video shot by a hallway camera showed Lowe exiting the classroom with Dias’ rifle in his hand. He handed the weapon off to another school employee and then hugged Dias.

“I just wanted to let him know that I was there for him. I told him I was there to save him,” said Lowe. “I was there for a reason and that this is a life worth living.”

The student brought the shotgun to school during what authorities have described as a mental health crisis, according to USA Today. Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Parakram Sing said the investigation determined the student intended to harm only himself. The shotgun contained only one round.

Last fall, the student pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful possession of a firearm in a public building and one count of unlawful possession of a loaded firearm in public. He was sentenced to three years’ probation and is now receiving mental health and substance abuse treatment.

Five other individuals and an organization were also awarded the medal of honor last week.

“These six individuals and one organization exemplify the values embodied in the Medal of Honor. We salute their selfless actions!” said the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation in a Facebook post.

(If you or someone you know is thinking of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255, text TALK to 741741 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional information.)

This article first appeared on SSI sister publication campussafetymagazine.com.

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About the Author


Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration.

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