Hosts say student slaying doesn't reflect U.S.


MISSOULA, Mont. - The husband and wife who hosted a 17-year-old exchange student killed a block from their Montana home have a message for the citizens of Germany.

Friends are leaving flowers and balloons in front of Diren Dede's host family's house and they're planning a memorial.

The family has hosted several exchange students throughout the years. Kate Walker and Randy Smith loved Diren Dede. He'd lived with them since mid-August.

It was supposed to be a short visit before he moved to a permanent exchange family. But Walker and Smith decided Dede was the perfect fit. Now all they've got are their memories.

"This is a one in a million and how angry I am that this could happen to someone," said Walker.

Dede's host family will never forget what happened on Sunday, just after midnight, one street away. Their 17-year-old exchange student, Diren Dede, went into a neighbor's garage and was shot and killed.

They knew him as fun, eager and curious.

"He was just so eager to learn everything as quickly as he could about America, Montana, Missoula," said Smith.

He wanted to see it all and do everything.

"He was just a full-of-life kind of kid. He lived every day with such enthusiasm," said Walker.

Neighbors and friends have supported the family by setting up balloons and ribbons in German colors on mailboxes. There are flowers in the front of the house and even Sprite, which was Dede's favorite.

Walker says he was a good student, played sports and kept busy. He had a varied curfew every night.

"We gave him a midnight or 1 o'clock depending on what day and what night it was, and I would stay up whenever he was not there and I would stay up until he got home," said Smith.

The night of the shooting, Walker and Smith thought Dede was home with a friend. The boys had made plans earlier to go to a bonfire, but that fell through. They didn't hear him leave.

"I wasn't up waiting up for him because I thought that they were downstairs," said Smith.

The couple knows their neighborhood as safe. They didn't lock their doors, but everything changed Sunday just after midnight.

"I want them to remember how great of a kid he was," said Walker.

Smith and Walker say they have a message for the citizens of Germany -- they say they want them to know the shooting was committed by one person and is not reflective of the United States.

NBC Montana was told that the community is organizing a vigil Friday night for Dede, at 9 p.m. at the Fort Missoula soccer fields.

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