MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — The German consulate called for justice Wednesday after a homeowner fired four blasts from a shotgun into his garage, killing a 17-year-old exchange student who was inside.
The investigation into the killing of Diren Dede of Hamburg should make clear that it is illegal to kill an unarmed juvenile just because he was trespassing, said Julia Reinhardt, spokeswoman for the consulate in San Francisco.
“We consider what happened completely out of proportion to the probable risk,” Reinhardt said.
Dede’s father, Celal, arrived in Missoula on Tuesday night with a family friend to recovery his son’s body. They spent part of the morning at the home of Diren Dede’s host family in Missoula and declined to be interviewed.
The teen was studying at Missoula’s Big Sky High School and was to leave the U.S. after the school term ended in just a few weeks.
It is not clear what Diren Dede was doing in Markus Kaarma’s garage just before the shooting early Sunday morning. Prosecutors allege the 29-year-old wildland firefighter shot into his garage without warning after an intruder tripped sensors he had installed.
Just days before, Kaarma told a woman that his house had been burglarized twice and he had been waiting up nights to shoot an intruder, court records said.
Kaarma’s attorney, Paul Ryan, said his client plans to plead not guilty to a charge of deliberate homicide because Montana law allows homeowners to protect their residences with deadly force when they believe they are going to be harmed.
There had been a number of break-ins in the neighborhood and Kaarma believed the police weren’t doing anything about it, Ryan said.
“We know with no question the individual entered garage. Kaarma didn’t know who he was, his intent or whether he was armed,” Ryan said.
Kaarma and his partner have remained in their home since he was released on $30,000 bond Monday. A sign on their front door Wednesday told visitors not to ring the bell.
Kaarma left the home once with a child in his arms and walked away without comment after an Associated Press reporter identified himself.
An official from the German consulate is in Missoula to assist Celal Dede in recovering the body and to meet with local law enforcement and prosecutors, Reinhardt said.
“This is very important to us, and she is there to put pressure on the authorities to investigate thoroughly,” Reinhardt said. “We don’t have any doubt that this will happen.”
Dede’s family in Hamburg told the German newspaper Bild the family has lived in Germany since 1977, and Diren has two sisters ages 19 and 21. He was to be in the U.S. for just another six weeks, but now the family plans a burial in Turkey, the newspaper reported.
Diren Dede played soccer for his Missoula high school and in Germany. His former team in Hamburg was to play a charity match Wednesday to help the family pay for the funeral and other costs.