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Slain Utah football player remembered for optimism, kindness

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

MESQUITE, Texas (AP) Utah football player Aaron Lowe was remembered as an optimist, role model and friend at his funeral Monday, and coach Kyle Whittingham announced the school would retire Lowe's number and establish a scholarship in his name.

Lowe's coaches and teammates, Utah athletic staff and the university president traveled from Salt Lake City to attend the service at Family Cathedral of Praise in Lowe's hometown east of Dallas. Inside the casket, Lowe's body was adorned in a white football uniform, including cleats, and a football was placed in his hands.

Lowe, 21, was fatally shot Sept. 26 in Salt Lake City, hours after a win over Washington State and nine months after Utes running back Ty Jordan died in an accidental shooting on Christmas night 2020.

Lowe and Jordan were friends and football teammates at West Mesquite High before they went to Utah. Lowe switched his jersey number to Jordan's No. 22 this season and was the first recipient of a memorial scholarship established in Jordan's honor.

"I loved Aaron Lowe just like everybody who came in contact with him," Whittingham said. "He had a great heart, great smile. His personality, every time he went into a room, it lit up. He had that kind of charm and charisma. He approached life with clear eyes and a full heart."

Athletic director Mark Harlan said Lowe, a communications major, was a curious student who showed concern for everyone around him, especially for those younger than him.

"Thank you for sharing him," Harlan said to Lowe's family. "Thank you for letting him be a part of us for the time we had. Yes, we'll retire the number. It's all about Aaron and all he did for us."

Sharrieff Shah, the Utes' cornerbacks coach and special teams coordinator, said Lowe overflowed with kindness and was "infectiously optimistic." He said Lowe worked hard to become eligible academically coming out of high school and was an honor roll student at Utah when he died.

Salt Lake City police on Oct. 3 arrested 22-year-old Buk M. Buk in the shooting and booked him on charges of aggravated murder, attempted murder and felony discharge of a firearm. Police Chief Mike Brown did not disclose a motive but said the shooting was not a targeted attack on the university, its athletic department or Lowe, nor was it gang-related.

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Updated October 11, 2021

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