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Man with violent history arrested in shooting death of University of Utah football player

A “U” sign hangs in Salt Lake City's Sugar House neighborhood on Sept. 26, near where University of Utah sophomore defensive back Aaron Lowe was shot and killed. Police on Sunday announced that they have arrested a man suspected of killing Lowe. (Shafkat Anowar, Deseret News)



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SALT LAKE CITY — A Salt Lake man who police say has an "extensive violent criminal history" was arrested Sunday in the shooting death of University of Utah football player Aaron Lowe.

Buk Mawut Buk, 22, was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of aggravated murder, attempted murder and discharge of a firearm.

Donna Lowe-Stern, Lowe's mother, received a call from Salt Lake Police Chief Mike Brown early Sunday notifying her of the arrest.

"I'm just glad they got him," she said. "I know I can't get my baby back, but I'll get justice."

Buk Mawut Buk, 22, of Salt Lake City, was arrested early Sunday for investigation of aggravated murder in the death of University of Utah football player Aaron Lowe. Buk has an extensive violent criminal history, according to police, including a 2019 arrest and conviction for robbing a man and his daughter at gunpoint.
Buk Mawut Buk, 22, of Salt Lake City, was arrested early Sunday for investigation of aggravated murder in the death of University of Utah football player Aaron Lowe. Buk has an extensive violent criminal history, according to police, including a 2019 arrest and conviction for robbing a man and his daughter at gunpoint. (Photo: Salt Lake County Jail)

On Sept. 26, Lowe, 21, was attending a house party at 2215 S. Broadmoor Street (2625 East) just hours after the University of Utah football team defeated Washington State at Rice-Eccles Stadium. The party was supposed to be for players only, but uninvited guests started showing up.

"Multiple people who were not invited came to the party and were causing problems," including Buk, according to a jail booking affidavit.

At one point, just before 12:30 a.m., witnesses observed Buk "approach another person at the party, say something to him in a low voice, and then retrieve a pistol from the person's shoulder bag," the affidavit states.

Buk then walked down the driveway and across the street before firing two or three shots at Lowe and a 20-year-old woman whom Lowe was with, according to police.

"Witnesses then observed Buk walk up to the victims and shoot them five or six more times while they were on the ground," the affidavit states. The woman later told police that Buk was trying to "finish them off,"

Lowe died at the scene. The woman, whose name has not been released, underwent "extensive surgery," according to Brown, and remained hospitalized Sunday in critical condition.

"This was not a targeted attack against the university, its athletic department or Aaron Lowe. And despite the rumors on social media, this was also not a targeted gang-related shooting. This was a shooting that should have never happened," Brown said Sunday while announcing the arrest.

Police also confirmed Sunday that the woman was also not targeted in the shooting and that the attack was not related to domestic violence. Lowe-Stern said her son was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Since the shooting, Brown said his detectives had been working with the U.S. Marshal's Violent Fugitive Apprehension Team to solve the case. Over the past week, search warrants were served in Layton and in Draper and more than two dozen interviews were conducted. Buk was arrested early Sunday in Draper.

Brown, who did not take questions during a press conference Sunday, did not release any other details about the shootings, what was found in Layton and Draper, what led police to Buk or the circumstances surrounding his arrest.

"Because of the incredible work of our homicide detectives, we have justice for Aaron," the chief said.

Brown also praised members of the public who provided detectives with tips.

"In a time of need, we turned to our community. We asked people to come forward and to share the information they had," he said. "To those who submitted tips, photos and videos, thank you. Thank you very much."

Brown said the investigation into the shooting is still ongoing, though he did not say whether police are looking for additional suspects.

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall also praised the work of officers, and said she was "relieved" when she received a text early Sunday from Brown informing her of the arrest.

"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," she said.

The mayor also took time to acknowledge that staffing at police departments across the state is down, including at the Salt Lake City Police Department which has 55 paid positions that are unfilled. She encouraged members of the public who want to make a difference in their community to consider a career in law enforcement.

"We need more officers," Mendenhall said. "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.

"I'm asking you to step up. I'm asking you to consider joining the Salt Lake City (Police Department)" the mayor said.

Police have requested that Buk be held in jail without bail, noting that he has an "extensive" history of violence and was on probation for robbery at the time of the shooting.

According to court records, Buk was convicted in March of failing to stop at the command of police. In June 2020 he was convicted of robbery in two separate cases — including one in which he robbed a father and daughter at gunpoint — and was sentenced to three years of probation.

University of Utah Athletic Director Mark Harlan thanked the police department on Sunday.

"We continue to mourn the loss of Aaron, and we miss him dearly. We also remain hopeful for a full recover for the second victim in this shooting, who remains hospitalized," Harlan said in a prepared statement. "We will continue to support Aaron's family and our Utah athletics family through this time of grief, and we are so grateful for the overwhelming outpouring of support from the community and all who have reached out to honor the memory of Aaron Lowe."

University President Taylor Randall also issued a statement saying he is relieved that an arrest has been made.

"I want to thank Chief Mike Brown, the responding officers and detectives involved for their continued professionalism and sensitivity in investigating Aaron's murder," Randall stated.

"In the coming days, weeks and months, I encourage all members of the university community to check in on each other and reach out for support. In addition to the multiple witnesses to this crime, many of our students, staff and faculty knew and loved Aaron. He was a communications major, a talented member of our football team, a son, brother and friend. All affected by Aaron's death need our compassion and understanding in working through the complex and very real reverberations of trauma and grief," he continued. "The loss of another U student—someone with such promise and life ahead of him—leaves us anguished and shaken. But we are steadfast too. I know the University of Utah community will come together around Aaron's family, his friends, his teachers and his teammates as we begin the long process of healing."

Lowe-Stern praised the university and the football team's coaches for their support and constantly checking up on her since her son's death.

"He was a wonderful kid. The world knows him now He was an awesome kid. He really was," she said.

Contributing: Ashley Fredde, Dan Rascon KSL-TV

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