Montana Couple Baits and Shoots 17-Year-Old German Exchange Student

| by Allison Geller

A German high school exchange student was shot by the Montana homeowner he was staying with. Charges allege that the homeowner’s common-law wife baited the student before the man fired the fatal shots.

17-year-old Diren Dede, a native of Hamburg, was a junior at Big Sky High School in Missoula, according to KTVQ. He was staying at the home of 29-year-old Markus Hendrik Kaarma and his common-law wife, Janelle Pflager.

Kaarma claimed he had installed security equipment in his house because it had been broken into twice. The alarm rang early Sunday morning, so he went outside with a shotgun, the charging affidavit reads.

Kaarma yelled into the garage and someone responded, according to Pflager, either “hey” or “wait.”

But Kaarma didn’t wait—he fired four shots into the garage, hitting Dede in the head and arm.

While Kaarma told investigators he thought his life was in danger, Pflager said she had deliberately baited the “burglar,” putting an open purse in the garage.

Furthermore, a hair stylist said that Kaarma had told him that he had been staying up nights the past three days, waiting to “shoot some ‘bleeping’ kid.”

Teachers and peers at Big Sky High School are mourning the shocking loss of the German exchange student of Turkish descent.

“He was a very loved student, especially in the junior class,” Hatton Littman, a spokeswoman for Missoula County Public Schools, told the Missoulian. “People just can’t stop saying what a great student he was and what a great person he was.”

"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, superintendent of Missoula Public Schools.

Kaarma has been charged with deliberate homicide. His bail has been set at $30,000. A court will decide if the “castle doctrine” will play a role in his defense.

Sources: KTVQ, Missoulian, Billings Gazette