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German officials demand justice after exchange student killed in Montana

MISSOULA, Mont. - 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.

Deputy County Attorney Andrew Paul met with the father on Wednesday afternoon, but said he couldn't release any further information regarding the case, The Missoulian newspaper reported.

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. Students at the school were being offered counseling.

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 firefighter shot into his garage without warning after an intruder tripped sensors he had installed.

This undated still image taken from video shows Markus Kaarma at his home in Missoula, Mont. Kaarma has been charged with deliberate homicide in the shooting death of 17-year-old Diren Dede, an exchange student from Germany. Bill Gorman, AP
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, Janelle Pflager, 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.

Ryan said Kaarma and Plfager, who have a young child, have received anonymous death threats on Facebook. International media and curious locals alike have been hounding the couple, making them fearful to leave the house.

"They are trapped in their house now," Ryan told The Missoulian.

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.

The teen's fellow players on the Big Sky High School soccer team were hit hard by his death, CBS affiliate KPAX reported.

The team's soccer coach praised Dede, both as an athlete and as an advocate for social justice.

"We were all just amazed at what he could do as far as being a defender," soccer coach Jay Bostrom told MTN News. "Another thing about his personality, he was a very open-minded, sensitive young man who was concerned a lot with global justice and social justice issues around the world."

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