A German consulate official said Wednesday that authorities in her country want justice for the death of a 17-year-old exchange student who was shot by a Missoula homeowner.
Julia Reinhardt of the German Consulate General’s Office in San Francisco said that she was shocked by the shooting death of Diren Dede, who was enrolled as a junior at Missoula’s Big Sky High School.
A German diplomatic official arrived in Missoula on Tuesday to assist Dede’s grieving father, Celal, with the recovery of his son’s body and for meetings with local officials.
She said officials from her country have spoken with the Missoula County Attorney’s Office about Dede’s shooting death in a Grant Creek garage early Sunday.
Deputy County Attorney Andrew Paul met with the elder Dede on Wednesday afternoon, but said he couldn’t release any further information regarding the case.
“In general, it’s just shocking for us to know that this could happen,” Reinhardt said. “We expect that justice will be done. An unarmed juvenile shouldn’t be killed for trespassing in a garage.”
She added that German officials expect a thorough and speedy investigation into Dede’s murder.
“We have the impression the local authorities are committed to investigating this case,” she said. “We have full confidence in the local investigative and legal authorities.”
Dede, a German exchange student of Turkish descent, was shot by Markus Kaarma at about 12:30 a.m. after Kaarma and his wife heard someone in their garage. The couple had intentionally left their garage door open overnight.
Prosecutors allege Kaarma and his common-law wife, Janelle Pflager, set a trap for unknown individuals who had allegedly burglarized the home twice in the past three weeks.
According to the affidavit filed in support of a deliberate homicide charge, Kaarma and his wife left the garage door open 5 1/2 feet and placed a purse in the garage “so they would take it.”
Kaarma and Pflager also set up a video monitor and a sensor alert in the garage to detect an intruder.
When they heard an alert go off early Sunday, Kaarma grabbed his shotgun and exited the home’s front door, turning to enter the garage through the open door.
Pflager allegedly told police later that Dede said “hey” or “wait” before her husband fired four shots into the darkened garage. Two of those shots mortally wounded the boy – who was pronounced dead at St. Patrick Hospital.
University of Montana Muslim Student Association president Salvatore Farrara, whose given name is Nooriddeen, said Wednesday that his organization is providing support to Dede’s father during his stay in Missoula. Reinhardt said it’s likely the father will leave Missoula on Thursday.
Kaarma remains free on $30,000 bond, charged with one count of deliberate homicide. He has not yet been arraigned, but his attorney has said he will plead not guilty under Montana’s “castle doctrine.”
Reporter Kathryn Haake can be reached at 523-5268 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.