Oregon Security Officer Receives Citizen Honors Award for Stopping School Shooting

Keanon Lowe received the award from the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation for disarming a student.

Video credit: 8 KGW

Washington, D.C. – Keanon Lowe, a former security officer and football and track coach of Parkrose High School in Portland, Oregon, received the Citizen Honors Award from the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation last week.

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, the 18-year-old male student 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 the student. A video shot by a hallway camera showed Lowe exiting the classroom with the student’s rifle in his hand. He handed the weapon off to another school employee and then hugged the student.

“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.

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About the Author

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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. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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4 responses to “Oregon Security Officer Receives Citizen Honors Award for Stopping School Shooting”

  1. Michael Simler says:

    While his actions have been lauded by the Congressional Medal Honor Foundation, he is not a recipient of the MOH https://themedalofhonor.com/citizen-honors/.

  2. Robin Hattersley-Gray says:

    Mike – Thank you for your comment. According to the Foundation’s Facebook page, Lowe is a recipient, however, he is not listed on their website as a recipient. We are checking directly with the foundation to get to the bottom of this.

  3. Brian Brower says:

    As a security professional with decades of experience, Tactically, I see a flaw in the coaches actions. When there is ONE firearm, you must assume there to be at least one more. Before giving any hugs, there should have been an intensive pat down to make sure no additional weapons (including a knife) were present on this “student”. While this incident panned out ok, it could have gone South, very quickly…

  4. Michael Simler says:

    I appreciate your efforts to make a correction to this article.

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