MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — Prosecutors say a 29-year-old Montana man who is charged with deliberate homicide in the shooting of a 17-year-old boy in his garage had set a trap to catch any would-be burglars after being victimized several times.
Markus Kaarma, of Missoula, made an initial appearance in Justice Court on Monday for the felony charge filed after the death of Diren Dede of Hamburg, Germany.
Court records say Kaarma and his wife, Janelle Pflager, had set up sensors outside the garage and a video monitoring system in the garage, and had left the garage door open with a purse inside.
Early Sunday, the sensors went off and they looked at the video and saw someone in the garage.
Prosecutors say Kaarma went outside and fired four shots into the darkened garage, hitting Dede in the head and arm.
A 17-year-old boy shot and killed by a man who said the teen had broken into his garage was a foreign exchange student from Germany, while mistaken identity led to another weekend shooting by a Montana homeowner, authorities said.
Police in Missoula arrested a man on suspicion of deliberate homicide in the death of Diren Dede of Hamburg, Germany. Dede was a junior at Big Sky High School in Missoula, Missoula Public Schools officials said.
Markus Kaarma, 29, told officers he found an intruder in his garage after an alarm went off, and he shot him with a shotgun early Sunday. Dede later died of his injuries.
It will be up to the county attorney’s office to determine whether Kaarma will face criminal charges, Sgt. Travis Welsh said. He added that officers would not arrest someone without probable cause that a crime had been committed.
Kaarma remained jailed Monday morning. The staff and administration at Big Sky High School will provide grief support for students.
Under the state’s “castle doctrine” a person is allowed to use deadly force against an intruder if the person believes he may be harmed.
Less than two hours before the Missoula shooting, a homeowner 350 miles away in Billings shot and wounded a houseguest he thought was an intruder.
The 19-year-old seminary student was making a phone call in the home’s garage late Saturday when he was shot, Billings Police Sgt. Pat Curry said.
The student, who was not named, appeared to be shot in the chest, but the injury was not life-threatening, Curry said.
The homeowner, who also was not identified, probably won’t face charges, Curry said.