Missoula man charged with deliberate homicide in teen shooting


MISSOULA, Mont. - Markus Kaarma appeared in court Monday on charges he shot and killed a German exchange student. Kaarma, 29, is charged with deliberate homicide in the weekend shooting death in his garage.

Kaarma told police he found an intruder in his garage after an alarm went off early Sunday. Diren Dede was shot twice.

Dede, 17, of Hamburg, Germany, went to Big Sky High School. He's was on Big Sky's varsity soccer team.

"This is just a tragic, tragic situation where a young man has died and it's very confusing and there's a lot of information swirling around, but at the end of the day, we have a young man who's lost to our school, and to our community," said Hatton Littman of Missoula County Public Schools.

Prosecutors say Kaarma shot and killed Dede.

The court affidavit claims Kaarma's garage had been burglarized two times within the last three weeks.

Court documents claim Kaarma and his housemate, Janelle Pflager, laid a trap inside the garage. She left a purse, so the thief would take it, left the garage door open and installed motion sensors and put a baby monitor inside.

The affidavit goes on to say shortly after midnight, a sensor indicated someone was in their driveway and then inside the garage.

Prosecutors claim Kaarma got his shotgun, went outside and didn't see anyone.

He told police he thought he would die and told police he didn't say anything.

Pflager says she heard him say, "Hey" and the man in the garage answered something that sounded like, "Hey" or "wait."

Investigators claim Kaarma fired four shots in a sweeping pattern across the garage.

It is unexpected news for the quiet Missoula neighborhood.

"I've met the wife, but I've never met the husband. She seemed very nice. Nothing out of the ordinary," said Missoula resident Nicole Eviner.

We found out Dede lived in the neighborhood.

"Very shocking and very scary. You know, you just wonder if there's a connection, you know, living so close together," said Eviner.

At Big Sky High School, students and staff can only try to cope with their loss.

"He was well liked by students and staff at the school. He was very active at the school and engaged in the soccer community around Missoula and he was a great student," said Littman.

Prosecutors quote a conversation with Kaarma's hairstylist, where he reportedly told her he had been waiting up for three nights, so he could shoot a kid.

Missoula police spokesman Travis Welsh says there was a second person in the garage with Dede, but he ran when the shots were fired. Police have questioned him.

The staff and administration of Big Sky High School will provide grief support services to students.

"This situation is tragic and we are all pulling together to support the students, staff and families of Big Sky High School," said Alex Apostle, the Superintendent of Missoula Public Schools. "I met with our administrative team on Sunday morning and we enacted our crisis teams at Big Sky High School right away. We are thankful for the support from NCBI, St. Patrick's Hospital, local law enforcement and the University of Montana as we make sure that we support the Dede family and all of the families at Big Sky High School."

Officers responded to the reported shooting just before 12:30 a.m. Sunday. The shooting is still under investigation.

Click here to read the full affidavit.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off