Parkrose High School, in Portland, Oregon, received a massive scare when Angel Granados-Diaz, 18, walked into a classroom with a loaded shotgun on May 17.
Granados-Diaz entered the school in a black trench coat and disappeared into a classroom, where he reportedly was going to commit suicide. Investigators say that Diaz was suffering from a mental health crisis following a breakup and aimed to kill himself in the classroom, where someone would call 911 once shots were heard.
It is noted that Granados-Diaz never fired the gun while on campus and didn’t intend to hurt anyone other than himself.
Before Granados-Diaz could end his life, however, he was subdued by Keanon Lowe, the school’s football and track and field coach, as well as former Oregon Ducks football player. Lowe lunged for the gun and held it away from Granados-Diaz while calling for help, then embraced Diaz for over a minute, although it was first reported that Lowe tackled Granados-Diaz to the ground. This revelation comes from security camera footage recently released from the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office.
“This is a major red flag for the mental health community. The Center for Disease Control just recently released a report this month stating that between 2007 and 2017, suicide rates for individuals aged 10-24 have risen by 56%,” said Mackenzie Hemmer (’20), the President of Active Minds. “This should not just be a red flag for the mental health community, but for society as a whole. We have a crisis on our hands.”
“Additionally, I feel that situations like this do paint an awful picture of those that have mental illnesses and its potential connection with potential shooters. Individuals are so quick to blame it on the illness or the individual’s stereotypes, whether that is sex, race, etc,” said Hemmer. “We as a society are failing individuals that they become so ill, they feel as if no one is watching, and this is their last resort to get the attention they need, want or desire.”
Lowe has since, for the most part, been hailed as a hero across the country, and called to mind the importance of faculty and school staff around the world. However, his actions have sparked some controversy in whether or not he should have taken action in the way he did.
“While I understand that this can be controversial on whether or not he should have taken action, I think that it is important to look at the comparison of consequences,” said Hemmer. “There could have been numerous deaths from a scenario like this, but there wasn’t. We could have lost more than one life had things taken a different course.”
In an interview with “Good Morning America,” Lowe said that he felt he was placed in that room at that moment for a reason, and that he is thankful no one was hurt. In an interview with reporters at the Moda Center, he said that, “I had a real-life conversation. Obviously, he broke down, and I wanted him to know I was there for him. I told him I was there to save him; I was there for a reason, and this is a life worth living.”
Granados-Diaz pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful possession of a loaded firearm in public and one count of possession of a firearm in a public building and was sentenced to three years of probation, mental health services and substance abuse treatment, effective immediately. The gun seized by police was to be destroyed.
If you or someone you know is going through a crisis or intending to harm themselves, there are many resources that can help. To use the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, dial 1-800-237-TALK. To use the National Crisis Text Line, text “HOME” to 741741.
Additionally, on-campus resources include the Counseling and Wellness Center, which can be reached at 989-463-7225 and is open from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. For emergencies, call 911.