MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — The father of a 17-year-old exchange student shot dead in Montana departed the U.S. on Thursday after criticizing the nation's gun culture and arranging for his son's body to be flown back to Germany.
Celal Dede flew out of Missoula after securing the release of Diren Dede's body, which was transported from Montana on Wednesday afternoon, German consulate spokeswoman Julia Reinhardt said.
Before he departed, Celal Dede told the German news agency dpa that he had never imagined his son could be shot for simply entering somebody's property.
"America cannot continue to play cowboy," Celal Dede said.
Markus Kaarma, a homeowner in Missoula, Montana, on Sunday fired four blasts from a shotgun into his garage, killing Diren Dede who was inside. He faces a charge of deliberate homicide.
It's not clear what the teen was doing in the garage. Prosecutors allege Kaarma shot into his garage without warning after Dede tripped alarms.
Kaarma's attorney, Paul Ryan, told The Associated Press Wednesday that his client plans to plead not guilty and was afraid for his life. Kaarma didn't know whether the boy was armed or what his intentions were when he entered the garage, Ryan said.
"The young man made a choice and put the wheels in motion that ultimately created this whole situation," Ryan said.
Celal Dede said he hoped Kaarma would receive a fair punishment.