Host Parents Share Memories of Diren Dede - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Host Parents Share Memories of Diren Dede

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MISSOULA - Diren Dede's host parents said they're still wondering how the deadly shooting could have happened.

Randy Smith and Kate Walker said they've made it through the past several days with love and support from the community.

They said their quiet Grant Creek neighborhood was turned upside down when a nearby resident shot and killed the 17-year-old Dede in his garage.

"We're outraged that it happened, especially that it happened to someone that we loved so dearly," Walker said.

Walker and Smith said they don't know why Dede was in the garage that night, and they're still coming to grips with the fact that he's gone.

"This neighborhood's really hurting, this is not something you would expect to happen here," Walker said.

Smith and Walker said their love for Dede began the moment they met him at the airport last August.

Smith said, "We just fell in love with him just instantly because of his personality and who he was."

They quickly learned Dede was a determined teenager, who was full of life.

"He just came up every morning with a smile on his face," Walker added.

Walker said they spent many days sitting out on their deck with Dede, talking about his interest in world politics, and his belief in justice for all.

"He was a very kind, passionate person, really cared about everyone."

Smith said one of Dede's true passions was soccer.

"He was a fierce competitor on the field, but he was a team player," he said.

Smith said Dede immediately became "one of the guys" on Big Sky High School's team, making it easy for him to transition into a new school.

"The girls all loved him because he was very handsome and, you know, muscular, and fun to be with, a great sense of humor," he said.

Walker and Smith said they were planning on visiting Dede and his family in Turkey this summer.

Community members will meet at the Fort Missoula soccer fields Friday night for a candlelight vigil.

The fields are located off South Avenue.

The vigil starts at 9 p.m. and is open to the public.

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