The former Parkrose High School student who carried a firearm into the school in May pleaded guilty to two charges related to having a loaded gun in a public place.
Angel Granados-Diaz, 19, appeared in Multnomah County Circuit Court Thursday afternoon wearing blue jail scrubs and escorted by two corrections deputies. He’s remained in custody since May 17, when he was arrested.
Both prosecutors and Granados-Diaz’s defense attorney stressed in court that despite how it appeared what actually happened at Parkrose High was not a thwarted school shooting, but a suicide attempt by a young man struggling with his mental health. And they said that Granados-Diaz only poses a danger to himself, not the public.
“The evidence he was at Parkrose High School to commit suicide is overwhelming,” Adam Thayne, Granados-Diaz’s attorney, said in court Thursday. “It is also overwhelming that he was there to hurt himself and no body else.”
Granados-Diaz pleaded to a felony charge of possessing a firearm in a public building and a misdemeanor charge of possession of a loaded firearm in a public place.
As part of the plea agreement, Granados-Diaz will spend 36 months on probation and receive mental health and substance abuse treatment.
He’s required to complete 64 hours of community service and is prohibited from owning firearms. He’s also barred from entering Parkrose High School or contacting any of the school’s students without permission.
Granados-Diaz had faced an additional count of possession of a weapon in a public building and recklessly endangering another person, but those charges were dropped as part of the agreement reached with prosecutors.
Granados-Diaz legally purchased the shot gun he eventually took to school.
The morning of May 17, he consumed alcohol. He decided he would kill himself at school so his family wouldn’t find his body at home, Thayne said.
Just before noon, Granados-Diaz entered Parkrose High School in Northeast Portland carrying a shotgun, according to police.
Thayne said Granados-Diaz carried the gun into a classroom, intending to kill himself in a location where his body would be found quickly.
He was confronted and then disarmed by Parkrose High School football coach Keanon Lowe, a former football star for the University of Oregon. Lowe’s actions have been widely lauded as heroic.
Granados-Diaz never fired the gun while on campus, and he didn’t point it at anyone but himself.
Thayne also said Granados-Diaz wrote some words on a bullet casing: “The last red pill 5-17-19 just for me.”
Investigators learned Granados-Diaz had been suicidal for several months prior to the event. After he was arrested he told Portland Police that he wanted to die.
“I didn’t meant for any of this to happen,” Thayne said, quoting police reports of what Granados-Diaz said at the time. “I just wanted to die. I didn’t mean to hurt anyone, just myself… I’m sorry for all of this.”
Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Dailey said she was grateful to law enforcement and the district attorney’s office for recognizing early the event was not an attempted school shooting, but rather a mental health crisis. She also addressed the Parkrose High community.
“Because of what’s going on in our state and nationally it only made sense that they interpreted the situation to be yet another horrendous, horrific event that was taking place before their very eyes,” Dailey said. “So my empathy goes out to those people as well.”
Daily told Granados-Diaz that she and others are deeply concerned about his well-being.
“The situation shows you’re in high need of support and intervention,” she said.
Granados-Diaz is expected to be released from jail on Tuesday.