Father Of Slain Exchange Student: 'America Cannot Continue To Play Cowboy'

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

The father of a 17-year-old German exchange student who was fatally shot by a Montana homeowner blasted America’s gun culture after retrieving his son's body from Missoula.

Celal Dede, 46, returned to Germany on Thursday. The teen's memorial service is set to be held in Hamburg.

“America cannot continue to play cowboy,” Dede told German news agency dpa. “I didn’t think for one night that everyone here can kill somebody just because that person entered his backyard.”

Dede said he hopes the man who shot his son receives a fair punishment.

Homeowner Marcus Kaarma, 29, says he shot Diren Dede in self-defense just weeks before the boy was set to return home. Dede, an all-state soccer player at Big Sky High School, was allegedly rummaging inside Kaarma’s garage when he shot him early Sunday.

Montana law allows homeowners to use deadly force in their home when they feel their life is in danger, The Associated Press reported.

German officials have demanded an investigation into the shooting. Julia Reinhardt, spokesperson for the German consulate in San Francisco, told the Daily Mail an investigation should make clear that it is illegal to kill an unarmed minor simply for trespassing.

It is still unclear what Dede was doing inside the garage.

“The young man made a choice and put the wheels in motion that ultimately created this whole situation,” Kaarma’s attorney, Paul Ryan, told The Associated Press.

Dede’s mother and two sisters arranged a farewell soccer match with hundreds of friends in his hometown of Hamburg Wednesday.

The family intends to bury him in their native country of Turkey, after the memorial service, according to dpa.

Sources: New York Daily News, Daily Mail