A student walked into an Oregon high school with a loaded shotgun. However, he stopped dead in his tracks as the school’s football coach grabbed him by the coat and whispered in his ear.
Before classes began at Parkrose High School in Portland, 19-year-old Angel Granados-Diaz walked into a classroom with a concealed, loaded shotgun and sinister plans. The tormented teen was determined to fire a single shot, killing himself in front of unsuspecting classmates as one last sentiment of his agonizing existence.
As he aimed the gun at himself in front of mortified students, Granados-Diaz pulled the trigger only to realize that the gun didn’t fire. It was then that the aggrieved young man caught a glimmer of hope out of the corner of his eye.
According to CNN, football coach Keanon Lowe seized his chance, grabbing the shotgun away from Granados-Diaz, pulling the teen into the hall, and wrapping his arms around the student in a loving embrace. He spent the next several minutes hugging Granados-Diaz and encouraging him not to kill himself.
“In that time, I felt compassion for him,” Lowe said. “A lot of times, especially when you’re young, you don’t realize what you’re doing until it’s over.”
The surveillance video of the gutwrenching encounter shows Lowe holding on tightly to Granados-Diaz and refusing to let him go. The student sobs as the coach relentlessly showers him with desperately needed affection.
After getting the teen to calm down, Lowe sat and consoled him until the police arrived to take the young man into custody. Granados-Diaz was charged with one count of unlawful possession of a firearm in a public building and one count of unlawful possession of a loaded firearm in public. Through attorney Adam Thayne, he thanked coach Lowe for his compassionate response.
“Angel would like to thank Mr. Lowe, the first responders, the Parkrose High School community, and all those who have supported him throughout this process,” Thayne said. “He is looking to move forward in the best way possible.”
Oregon Public Broadcasting reports that Granados-Diaz pleaded guilty to both charges, receiving 36 months of probation and 64 hours of community service. He will be required to complete mental health and substance abuse treatment and he’s also barred from entering Parkrose High School without permission.
“The evidence he was at Parkrose High School to commit suicide is overwhelming,” Adam Thayne, Granados-Diaz’s attorney, said in court. “It is also overwhelming that he was there to hurt himself and nobody else.”
With the media constantly sensationalizing gun violence, society has begun inundating public schools with demands that officials implement efforts to thwart such an outcome. What we often fail to ask ourselves is, “What are we doing as parents to prevent our children from turning to such violence?”
Disturbingly, many have placed the burden of parenting on educators, expecting them to instill core values in our children while hindering their ability to discipline them. Sadly, this has created a toxic environment for desperate young people crying out for help, attention, and love.
Investigators discovered that Granados-Diaz had been suicidal for several months prior to the incident. He had consumed alcohol the morning of his intended suicide and told police during his arrest that he doesn’t want to hurt anyone but just wants to die. He only chose the school as the location for his death because he didn’t want his family to find his mutilated body.
The incident showcases the major root of the issue of gun violence. Instead of only looking to protect our children against gun violence, we should also be looking at preventing such manifestations in our children’s nature. In this case, all it took to send the pendulum swinging in the other direction was a simple hug.