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Man pleads guilty to murdering University of Utah football player Aaron Lowe

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The man accused of fatally shooting University of Utah football player Aaron Lowe pleaded guilty to murder charges on Monday, more than two years after police say he killed the cornerback outside a rowdy house party in Salt Lake City.

Buk Mawut Buk, now 25, pleaded guilty to Lowe’s murder and the attempted murder of a woman injured in the shooting on Sept. 26, 2021, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said. Police say he fired multiple shots at the two during a heated argument after the football player asked Buk's friends to move their car.

As Lowe, 21, and Fuamoli Pomale, 20, lay on the ground bleeding, witnesses watched in horror as Buk continued to shoot at them, according to court documents.

Buk is scheduled for sentencing on April 29 and faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years to life in Utah State Prison. In exchange for pleading guilty, the judge dismissed additional charges of obstruction of justice and possession of a weapon by a restricted person, since he was already on probation.

“Though perfect justice would mean that Mr. Lowe was alive and the other victim did not have to live with injuries that will last a lifetime, we hope this conviction helps the loved ones of Mr. Lowe and the second victim feel they have received some measure of justice,” Gill said Monday.

The sophomore cornerback's death came less than a year after his teammate Ty Jordan died of an accidental, self-inflicted gunshot wound on Christmas night in 2020.

The two had been high school friends and football teammates in their hometown of Mesquite, Texas, before they came to play for Utah. Lowe switched his college jersey to Jordan's No. 22 after the running back's death and was the first recipient of a memorial scholarship established in his honor.

About nine months after Jordan's death, the Utes again mourned for one of their own after an off-campus house party meant to celebrate their win over Washington State erupted into violence. Uninvited guests, including Buk, showed up to the private party and began causing commotion, police said.

Lowe and Pomale tried to leave the party just after midnight but found their car blocked by another vehicle. As they argued with a group of men who refused to move their car, Buk walked across the street to retrieve a gun from another man and began shooting, court documents state.

Lowe died at the scene. The Utah State Medical Examiner’s Office later recovered four bullets from his body, according to the autopsy. Pomale survived after receiving emergency surgery for multiple gunshot wounds to her neck and chest.

Buk, arrested that October in Draper, was already on probation for two robberies, including one in which authorities say he robbed a father and daughter at gunpoint. Salt Lake City police said at the time of his arrest for the shootings that Buk had an “extensive violent criminal history” dating back to at least 2017.