CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Dad speaks out about gun run-in with accused killer of U. football player

Oct 6, 2021, 8:55 AM | Updated: Dec 29, 2022, 12:06 pm
aaron lowe why was accused killer free...
Aaron Lowe, Photo Credit University of Utah

SALT LAKE CITY — Should the accused killer of a local college football player have been on the streets in the first place? 

On Sunday, Salt Lake City police arrested 22-year-old Buk M. Buk (pronounced “Book”) in Draper, Utah, for allegedly murdering 21-year-old University of Utah football player Aaron Lowe and critically wounding a 20-year-old woman on Sept. 26, 2021, at a house party in the Sugar House neighborhood of the city.

The unidentified female victim remains in critical condition after undergoing surgery.

Buk is charged with aggravated murder, attempted murder and felony discharge of a firearm, according to SLCPD.

A father who had a violent encounter with Buk described that day to KSL NewsRadio’s Debbie Dujanovic and Dave Noriega.

Armed robbery involved accused killer

Two years ago, George Bekmezian’s daughter spotted an online ad for a cellphone and agreed to meet the private seller  in the city suburb of Taylorsville.

“About that moment, we saw two guys approaching our car from the driver’s side.  . . . These guys were in do-rags. They were in hoodies, and it just felt wrong at that moment. I already could tell something bad was gonna happen,” Bekmezian said.

He said one of them asked, “Are you here to buy the cellphone?” When he said yes, one man dropped a cellphone charger in his lap. Distracted by that move, Bekmezian said as he was looking at the charger, the man said:

“I’m not messing around, give me the money.”

Bekmezian said when he turned, he saw a gun pointed at his head. As thoughts raced through his mind, Bekmezian said he looked to see the second man holding a knife to his waist.

“And then at that moment I thought, Alright, we’re gonna comply until there’s a better time to do something about it.”

“Hey, call 911” 

His daughter handed over the money. The man with the gun pointed at Bekmezian and demanded the cellphone in the center console. At that point as the pair began walking away, Bekmezian, a concealed-carry permit holder, pulled out his own gun and stepped out of the car.

“As soon as I shot a few shots, I got back in the car and told my daughter, ‘Hey, call 911’ and I was on a chase because these two guys, in my mind, they’re dangerous. They’re in the streets. They might harm me. They might harm somebody else,” he said.

Bekmezian said they pursued the pair around the block  and back to the starting point of the crime to see “a swarm of law enforcement.”

“I got to tell you, law enforcement was amazing that day.”

He said police found the pair hiding in a backyard a couple of hours later, and arrested them. A judget later convicted Buk of the crime. 

Why is this guy on the streets?

“When you heard that name when he was arrested and accused of murdering Aaron Lowe, what was your reaction?” Dave asked.

After reading a news article about Buk Buk’s arrest in the shooting death of Lowe, Bekmezian said it left him confused. He knew an aggravated robbery conviction in Utah brings a minimum mandatory sentence of five years in prison. Yet here was the same man who robbed him two years earlier, now accused of homicide.

Debbie pointed out that Buk Buk’s sentence in the case involving Bekmezian and his daughter was “about 30 days in jail and three years probation.”

“Which shocks me. Did you know that that was going to be the case?” she asked.

“No, not at all,” he replied. “I don’t understand how that could’ve happen. Why wouldn’t the district attorney [or] the prosecutor reach out to me, my daughter or maybe some of the other victims from previous crimes? None of this makes any sense.”

Bekmezian said he has in two years gone from feeling glad the rounds he fired didn’t strike the man who robbed him at gunpoint to wishing they had, because Aaron Lowe would be alive today.

“We have to understand why this is allowed to happen. How [can] we prevent it from happening in the future?”  Bekmezian asked.

Related news:

Arrest made in murder of University of Utah football player Aaron Lowe

University of Utah President issues statement after Aaron Lowe’s case arrest

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, a.s well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.  

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Dad speaks out about gun run-in with accused killer of U. football player