UMKC mourns student as two suspects are charged


A memorial to Aaron Markarian, a senior at the UMKC Conservatory of Dance and Music, has been erected in the yard where he was murdered on March 21. Two suspects have been charged with the crime after being identified by other victims of the robbery at the South Plaza home.

More details are emerging around murder that took the life of UMKC music student Aaron Markarian on March 21.

Today, Jackson County prosecutors charged two men with the robbery and murder at 4904 Brookside. Meantime, the university community mourned his death on Facebook and with a small shrine erected outside the home where he was killed.

According to the UMKC Conservatory Facebook page, “His shocking murder silenced a beautiful voice and a blossoming talent. A senior baritone on track to graduate with a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance in May, Aaron was a critically acclaimed singer and a beloved presence in both the conservatory and the broader community.”

The page says Markarian performed this month in Britten’s opera, A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream. Markarian, his roommates and friends were celebrating that performance in a post-production party at their off-campus home when he was killed, it says.

According to court records:

Eight people were in the home just south of the Plaza Library, when they heard a knock at the door. They opened it to two men, one carrying a silver machete with a red ribbon, and another carrying a semiautomatic handgun. The two ordered seven victims to sit on the couch and took their wallets and cellphones. The victims also turned over a small amount of marijuana.

As the victims thought the two robbers were ready to leave, one of them pointed a gun and began shooting. He wounded three people and killed Markarian. An eighth person hid in a bedroom during the incident. One of the victims later identified Alonzo Ruff as the robber with the gun, saying they had gone to high school together.

Williams said they were driving around looking for a place to rob on the evening of the 21st and that as they were getting ready to leave after taking the cellphone and wallets, Ruff started shooting the victims on the couch. He also said they stole about $400 and some cell phones.

Anthony Williams, 21, and Alonzo D. Ruff, 20, each face charges of second degree murder, assault, robbery and armed criminal action. 

The UMKC Counseling Center is available to help those affected by the tragedy; the center can be reached at 816-235-1635.