LOCAL NEWS

Suspect arrested in shooting death of Aaron Lowe shouldn’t have been on the streets, previous victim says

Oct 4, 2021, 9:15 AM | Updated: Feb 3, 2023, 4:38 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — When police announced Sunday morning that they had made an arrest in the shooting death of University of Utah football player Aaron Lowe, the name of the suspected shooter rang eerily familiar.

George Bekmezian said it was nearly two years ago that Buk Mawut Buk, then 20, and a teenager held him at gunpoint during what was supposed to have been an exchange of a phone sold online.

“My daughter and I went out to buy a cell phone,” Bekmezian said in an interview with KSL TV Sunday evening. “Of course I wasn’t going to let a 21-year-old girl go by herself, so I went with her.”

Bekmezian said when they arrived at the pre-arranged meeting location near 3400 West and 5620 South on Oct. 12, 2019, two men approached in hoodies. When those individuals learned Bekmezian and his daughter were the purchasers, the situation changed quickly.

“He said, ‘Hey, I’m not effing around, give me the money,’ and as I turned, I saw he had a gun pointed right here next to my head,” recalled Bekmezian, who noted he was still in the driver’s seat when the gun was pointed at his head. “He says, ‘Look, we’re not messing around. He’s got a knife.’”

Bekmezian said he handed off the money and the two suspects took off running.

“As they ran off, you know, I have a concealed carry (permit),” Bekmezian said. “And I did — I took a few shots at them.”

Nobody was injured by the gunfire, but the sound woke neighbors and police arrived quickly to the neighborhood.

“They were able to find and catch these guys,” Bekmezian said.

Buk was arrested and originally charged with first-degree felony aggravated robbery and first-degree felony robbery, among other alleged crimes.

Bekmezian said he thought Buk — the one he said was pointing the gun at him — would have gone to jail or prison for a significant amount of time after what amounted to a violent crime.

Then, he saw the news story on Sunday morning.

Man arrested Sunday in shooting death of Aaron Lowe had ‘extensive violent criminal history’

“I saw his name — Buk Buk,” Bekmezian said. “To me, it’s not a very common name, and 22 years old? I did the quick math. He was 20 two years ago. This is the same guy.”

In fact, court records showed Buk had been convicted in June 2020 with that crime, as well as another similar robbery set up again through an online ad.

By November 2020, however, Buk was apparently already on the streets. According to court records, he was taken into custody as a fleeing passenger of a stolen car. A probable cause statement said Buk was found with ammo in his pocket that matched the caliber of a stolen handgun found in the vehicle. While Buk was charged with second-degree felony theft by receiving stolen property and possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person, those charges were ultimately dismissed and Buk pleaded guilty to a class A misdemeanor count of failing to stop at the command of a law enforcement officer.

Court records showed as of the end of March, Buk was free on 36 months probation.

Bekmezian described his emotions upon learning that Buk was on the streets again and accused of homicide as “frustration, honestly anger, and sad(ness) for Lowe and his family.”

“If I was his family, I would want to know why this guy is out on the streets today and he was arrested for violent crimes just two years ago,” Bekmezian said.

He only wished he had the answers himself.

“This seems to be a recurring theme we read a lot about in Utah,” Bekmezian said. “Violent criminals have minimal sentences, plea deals and they’re out on the streets.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

The Utah Senate on March 1, 2024....

Lindsay Aerts

Final day of 2024 legislative session saw billions in funding and a move to ban pride flags

The final day of Utah’s 2024 legislature saw over 100 bills passed, involving funding for downtown, social media restrictions for minors, and a $29.4 billion budget.

4 hours ago

Cache County Clerk David Benson addresses a crowd regarding election law violations. (Mike Anderson...

Mike Anderson

Cache County Clerk addresses office election law violations

Cache County Clerk David Benson answered questions from the media and local voters about findings of numerous election law violations in his office.

5 hours ago

Pair of handcuffs on a black bacthroom...

Alexander Campbell

Washington County man calls police on self, gets arrested for stolen firearms

A teenager is off the streets after calling in to St. George Police and giving them his approximate location Friday, leading to a guns-drawn arrest.

5 hours ago

Two victims in a Hit-and-run in Sugarhouse speak to KSL News on Friday. (Emma Benson, KSL News)...

Emma Benson

Sugarhouse hit and run victims speak out

Two Sugarhouse women are speaking out after they were involved in a hit-and-run.

7 hours ago

Toyota passenger car that was involved in a fatal crash on Friday. (Utah Highway Patrol)...

Alexander Campbell

South Jordan crash results in one fatality, closes I-15 on ramp

Interstate 15 is closed at 11400 South while Utah Highway Patrol investigates a fatal crash on Friday.

8 hours ago

SLCPD officers pulling the the man off the parking garage ledge. (The Salt Lake City Police Departm...

Alex Cabrero

Body cam video shows police officers save man’s life during mental health crisis

Many people who live or work in downtown Salt Lake City often have very normal days. 

9 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Suspect arrested in shooting death of Aaron Lowe shouldn’t have been on the streets, previous victim says