Oregon high school football coach who disarmed gunman awarded special honor

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The Oregon high school football coach who disarmed a gunman and prevented a possible school shooting before embracing the suspect will be honored for his actions.

Keanon Lowe, a former wide receiver at the University of Oregon, will receive the Congressional Medal of Honor citizen distinction for heroism, the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation said last week.

Lowe and five other honorees "exemplify the values embodied in the Medal of Honor," the foundation said. He was praised for his actions in May 2019 when he made a split-second decision to disarm a distraught student carrying a firearm at Parkrose High School in Portland.

He comforted the student -- later identified as Angel Granados Diaz -- until police arrived. At the time, Lowe coached football and track at the school.

Keanon Lowe was hailed as a hero after disarming a student at the Portland high school where he coached track and football last year.

Keanon Lowe was hailed as a hero after disarming a student at the Portland high school where he coached track and football last year.

“I lunged for the gun and we both had the gun,” Lowe told “Good Morning America” last year. “We had four hands on the gun and students are running out of the back of the classroom and I’m just trying to make sure that the end of the gun isn’t pointing towards where the students are running but also not pointed at myself.”

Investigators said Diaz had mental health issues and only intended to hurt himself, the Oregonian reported. He was sentenced last year to three years probation and mental health treatment.

“I let him know that I was there for him. I told him I was there to save him," Lowe told KATU-TV last year. "I was there for a reason, and this is a life worth living."

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Lowe will share the Single Act of Heroism Award with Riley Howell, the 21-year-old University of North Carolina at Charlotte student who tackled a gunman at his school. Howell was posthumously donated a Purple Heart and Bronze Star by the Purple Heart Society for his actions.