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Suspect from Aaron Lowe shooting charged with murder

(Salt Lake City Police Department)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office announced it has filed formal murder charges against Buk M. Buk in connection to the shooting death of University of Utah football player Aaron Lowe.

According to a press release from the district attorney’s office, Buk has been charged with first-degree felony counts of aggravated murder and attempted aggravated murder, along with second-degree felony counts of possession or use of a firearm by a restricted person and obstruction of justice.

Lowe was shot and killed at a Sugar House party on Sept. 26 near 2200 South Broadmoor St.

Officers responded to the house and found Lowe and his 20-year-old girlfriend, identified as Fuamoli Pomale, on the ground. Emergency crews rendered aid, but Lowe was pronounced dead at the scene.

Utah Football’s Aaron Lowe killed, another injured in SLC shooting

According to court documents, Pomale was taken to an area hospital in extremely critical condition, where she underwent extensive surgery.

A witness gave cell phone video of the shooting to investigators, who said it shows Lowe and Pomale across the street from the house. Police said a man approached the two and “lifted his left hand to his midsection and appeared to be holding a dark object. The male walked out of the frame, and the sound of the first two gunshots was captured.”

Police said five more gunshots were heard as the witness began running away from the scene.

Additional witnesses told officers they observed a vocal altercation between Lowe and a group of men near Lowe’s car before the shooting.

One witness and Pomale attempted to de-escalate the situation, according to court documents, as a man approached and started shooting with what another witness called a “black handgun with an extended magazine.”

Investigators said the shooter, who was identified by witnesses as Buk, was then driven away from the scene in a vehicle.

Detectives interviewed Pomale, who “had been shot in the neck and the chest and was unable to speak,” according to court documents. “She communicated by typing text on her phone or providing non-verbal responses to questions.”

She told police Lowe was trying to move his vehicle but the group of four men wouldn’t get out of the way.

“Pomale said there were a bunch of shots fired, and the shooter came to ‘finish them off’ after she and Lowe had fallen to the ground,” officers said in a probable cause statement.

Police said an autopsy performed by the Utah Office of the Medical Examiner showed Lowe was shot four times and suffered extensive injuries.

Doctors “preliminarily determined the cause of death to be multiple gunshot wounds and the manner of death to be homicide,” officers said.

Prosecutors have asked that Buk be held without bail. “Additionally, given the nature of the current charges, as well as the Defendant’s history of violent criminal behavior, the State believes that the Defendant would constitute a substantial danger to the witnesses and to the community, if released on bail,” court documents read.

Buk was arrested on Oct. 3. During a press conference that began around 10:30 a.m. that day, Chief Mike Brown with the Salt Lake City Police Department said he called Lowe’s mother to let her know about the arrest.

“I’m just glad they got him. I can’t get my baby back, but I know that I’ll get justice,” Donna Lowe-Stern told KSL-TV from her home in Texas.

The entire University of Utah Football team flew out to the Dallas, Texas, suburb of Mesquite Monday morning for Lowe’s funeral.

Coach Kyle Whittingham said Lowe was a light to all who met him, and for him, it was like losing a family member.

“We lost a loved one. We lost a family member and it’s difficult,” Whittingham said.

Lowe’s brother was not happy Buk was on the streets to begin with.

Chris Jackson, who is 16 years older than Lowe, said it was very upsetting for the family to learn the alleged killer’s long and violent criminal history.

“When we had an opportunity to find out the name of the young man, and then also see his extensive criminal history, that was more upsetting, because it was the whole idea that the criminal justice system failed altogether,” said Chris Jackson, Lowe’s older brother. “Looking at his crimes, he should have been in jail. He should have had some type of rehabilitation or intervention.”

Buk has cycled in and out of jail for a string of crimes in recent years, including two that involved guns. But he managed to avoid any prison time before his Oct. 3 arrest.

While Utah’s former top federal prosecutor says Buk’s criminal history reflects a “slap on the wrist, revolving-door approach” to gun crimes within the state’s criminal justice system, another former prosecutor says the issues at play are complex.

Before Aaron Lowe killing, suspect told a judge he’d avoid ‘the wrong people at the wrong time’

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