SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Oct. 3, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — A week after the shooting death of University of Utah football player Aaron Lowe, Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown and Mayor Erin Mendenhall spoke at a news conference about the suspect’s arrest.
Suspect Buk M. Buk (Buk is pronounced like “book”), 22, faces initial first-degree felony charges of:
- Aggravated murder
- Felony discharge of a firearm
Police have said Lowe, 21, was shot at about 12:30 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 26, near a house party by an uninvited guest who had been asked to leave. Lowe died at the scene. A 20-year-old woman also shot was critically injured and was recently upgraded to critical but stable.
“Early this morning I spoke with Donna Lowe, the mother of the University of Utah football player Aaron Lowe, and let her know that the detectives assigned to the Salt Lake City homicide squad have arrested the person accused of the murder of her son and critically wounding a 20-year-old female,” Brown said at the news conference.
“Because of the incredible work of our homicide detectives, we have justice for Aaron,” he said. “When I talked to his mother on Monday, I made her a promise. We would find her son’s alleged killer. I could not be prouder of the detectives.”
Detectives worked extra hours and gave up personal time to work the case, Brown said.
“In the days immediately following Aaron’s murder, they worked 20 hours a day to make sure that every lead was followed up on, every video was scrutinized, and every photo was analyzed.”
Brown said he wanted to reassure U students and the community that the shooting was not a targeted attack against the university, its athletic department, or Aaron Lowe as a known personality, nor was it a targeted, gang-related killing.
“This was a shooting that never should have happened,” he said. “We are seeing too much gun violence across the country and our city. Sadly, Salt Lake City is not immune to that gun violence. But our patrol officers and detectives are committed to keeping our community safe, and to hold people accountable.”
He thanked officers and dispatchers for their help in the case, and he thanked party guests for sharing video and tips.
“We asked people to come forward and to share any information they had. That is not easy,” Brown said. “It takes bravery, and it takes trust. To those who submitted tips photos and videos, thank you. Thank you very much. Because of your actions, your tips and the unrelenting pursuit of justice from our detectives, we have arrested the person accused of murdering Aaron Lowe. So many lives have been impacted from the senseless shooting.”
Mendenhall called Lowe “a remarkable talented student athlete who is a son, brother, a friend,” saying his death “has rattled our community since last weekend.
“This morning, I was incredibly relieved to have received a text from the Chief in the middle of the night — not usually something that’s relieving — but to know that an arrest was made in this case, and I want to thank the officers who have worked literally around the clock since last weekend, following up on every lead, many investigations they’ve pursued, and what they’ve been able to piece together to start to give us some answers about this case.
“To the family of Aaron Lowe, my heart grieves for you, as mayor of Salt Lake City and as a mother. No parent should ever have to bury their child.”
The mayor said the work of the police department gives Lowe’s family and the community “a step toward justice.”
Mendenhall said she is proud of police officers in Salt Lake City and the work they do every day, but it won’t bring Lowe back. She said officers would rather prevent tragedies than investigate them afterward, but the department is down 55 paid positions, and the state is down more than 600 officer positions.
“We need more officers,” Mendenhall said.
“I’ve watched our officers struggle through incredible times, I know we’re asking a lot, but I know that there are women and men in this capital city and across the state of Utah who feel compelled to help their communities, who feel called to action when there is a need, and who can hear the cries of families like Aaron Lowe’s family and others in our city, who lost loved ones to violent shootings.
“I’m asking you to step up. I’m asking you to consider joining Salt Lake City police force, the greatest police force in the nation, who is in evolution every single day to become even better.”