It’s a parent’s worst nightmare.
Donna Lowe-Sterns and William Smith have been living that nightmare since they learned that their son, Utah defensive back Aaron Lowe, was shot and killed early Sunday morning.
Lowe, 21, was the second in a set of boy triplets born to Lowe-Sterns.
“It has really, truly devastated me to know that I don’t have my son,” Lowe-Sterns told KSL-TV earlier this week.
Smith expressed similar anguish when he talked to WFAA-TV in Dallas.
“I’m not crying because he’s gone. I guess I’m crying because I can’t see him, I can’t talk to him, I can’t hold him,” he said.
Lowe’s biological father, Darwin Lowe, told The Associated Press that he spoke to his son before last Saturday’s game against Washington State.
“We was always communicating with each other,” Darwin Lowe said. “My mind is just rehearsing every single moment, every conversation that we had.”
Aaron Lowe’s brother, Erin, told KDFW-TV in Dallas that he watched his triplet brother play against WSU.
“He was so amazing in so many ways,” Erin said. “Somebody so young, doing so good in his life can be taken away by a senseless crime.”
Aaron Lowe, in his third season as a defensive back for the Utes, was shot while attending a house party in Sugar House.
Salt Lake City Police Department investigators announced they have “several potential promising leads” in the case. Police say Lowe was outside and across the street when the shots were fired that killed him and left an unidentified female in critical condition.
According to police, the shooting took place after uninvited guests were asked to leave the party and the search for the suspect is ongoing.
Lowe-Sterns told KSL that according to what the police told her, “It was just my child in the wrong place at the wrong time. He did nothing wrong. I got that from authority. He did nothing wrong.”
Her son stayed away from trouble, Lowe-Sterns said.
“It helps me to know that I raised a good child. He wasn’t a troublemaker,” she said. “He didn’t engage in fighting and arguing, and he didn’t tote weapons — he didn’t do any of those things. I raised him to love God and to love people.”
Lowe-Sterns pleaded for anyone that can help the police solve the case and bring the person who shot her son to justice to step forward.
“I know whoever hurt him, Aaron wouldn’t have hurt him. He wouldn’t have did nothing to hurt him, because it’s not in him,” she said. “A mother shouldn’t have to bury her child. I just want everyone to know: If you know anything — anything — about the people that did this to my child, please come forward and say something.
“I don’t think they should be allowed to be free. I want them to pay for what they’ve done, and I hope they’ve got a conscience — that they’ll come forward and turn themselves in because they know what they did.”
On Wednesday night, Utah held a candlelight vigil in honor of Lowe. It was attended by hundreds of students and members of the university community.
Coach Kyle Whittingham and Utah players spoke at the event, as did athletic director Mark Harlan.
Harlan spent considerable time with Lowe’s mother this week.
“She’s a remarkable woman. She told me that God had a plan and she was at peace about that. Then she told me how much Aaron loved the University of Utah,” he said. “Coach (Morgan) Scalley and Coach (Sharrieff) Shah entered his home and when he earned that scholarship, it was a moment. … He made it to the University of Utah, which was a dream for him.
“She also spoke at length about his last day on earth, playing a football game, in the place that he loved, with his teammates, who he loved greatly, on national TV. That was his dream. That was his experience here.”
Harlan encouraged the football team, the athletic department and the university community to lean on and support one another during this difficult time.
“Where do we go from here? I wish I had all the answers. I certainly don’t. But here’s something I do know,” he said. “I know that this department of student-athletes are a family. Families take care of each other in the very best of times and the very worst of times. The only thing I know is to get through this together. … We can get through this together, for him.”
Utah has established the Aaron Lowe Funeral Service Fund to help the Lowe family with funeral service expenses. Any excess donations will be rolled into a memorial fund in Lowe’s honor.