Police: Suspect admits killing Chinese student

Updated 2017-11-02 15:32:57 chinadaily.com.cn

The suspect in the fatal shooting of a Chinese overseas student has confessed to the slaying, which was the culmination of an interstate crime spree, according to University of Utah police.

Austin Jeffrey Boutain, 24, admitted shooting Guo Chenwei, 23, of Beijing during a carjacking on Red Butte Canyon Road near the Utah campus late Monday night.

Boutain fatally shot Guo and then tried to force a woman who was with him, a university student whose name was not released, up a canyon, according to police. The woman escaped when Boutain, who fired at her twice and missed, was distracted, police said.

"Obviously, he had just killed somebody; he had an ill intent toward this young lady," University of Utah Police Chief Dale Brophy told reporters.

After the shooting, Boutain made his way into downtown Salt Lake City, police said.

He left a handgun, believed to be the weapon used to shoot Guo, at a homeless shelter where it was stolen, police said.

Police are trying to find the weapon, which they believe was taken from the Colorado home of 63-year-old homicide victim Mitchell Bradford Ingle, whose body was found last week.

Boutain was arrested on Tuesday at a library in Salt Lake City.

On Wednesday, police from Golden, Colorado named Boutain and his wife the sole suspects in Ingle's slaying.

On Tuesday, police found Ingle dead inside an RV trailer after Utah authorities contacted them in connection with Guo's shooting.

The Boutains apparently killed Ingle and then drove his pickup truck to Utah, where they gave it away, police said. Police said Austin Boutain admitted to stealing three guns from a home in Colorado, one of which was a rifle recovered by police.

Investigators plan to recommend that Colorado prosecutors file charges against the Boutains including first-degree murder, robbery and motor-vehicle theft in Ingle's death. Kathleen Boutain was in custody in Utah on unrelated drug and theft charges.

News outlets in Alabama and Ohio reported that Austin Boutain has a criminal history includes charges for public disturbances, theft, evading police, drugs and a sex offense.

He is also accused of assaulting and injuring his wife with a firearm.

On Monday about 8:15 p.m., Kathleen Boutain reported the assault to university police. As police were taking the report on the alleged domestic violence incident, they learned that Guo had been shot and killed, shortly before 9 pm.

Guo arrived in the US in 2012 and would have turned 24 on Sunday.

The official Twitter account of the University of Utah posted a recent picture of Guo, a pre-computer science major, with the following statement: "We're absolutely heart-stricken by the loss of student Chenwei Guo. He was extraordinarily outgoing, creative, smart & extremely engaged."

The university canceled classes Tuesday in light of the tragedy and lowered flags to half-staff Wednesday in Guo's memory.

Spokesman Chris Nelson said the flags would remain at half-staff until sunset Friday.

A candlelight vigil was scheduled for Guo from 6 pm to 8 pm Wednesday at the Marriott Library Plaza Wednesday.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Wednesday that the Chinese embassy in the United States has requested information from police, urging that the case be handled expeditiously.

The embassy also expressed sympathy and said it had provided assistance to Guo's family, she said.

"The Foreign Ministry and the embassy in the US will keep a close eye on the development of the case and offered necessary support for the family's visit to the US," she added.

The Chenwei Guo Family Fund was set up by Guo's friend Elena Diane Jin with the permission of Guo's family on GoFundMe.com.

Guo came to the US in 2012 and dreamed of owning a consulting company. Many in Provo, Utah, mourned Guo, as he served a mission for the LDS Church there.

He enjoyed skydiving, skiing and horseback riding, according to his biography on the school's International Student and Scholar Services website.

Lori McDonald, dean of students, described him as "extremely outgoing, charming, creative, smart". Guo was studying pre-computer science and was a peer adviser in the International Student and Scholar Services Office.

Rachel Tam said Guo was a smart, bright and caring person who loved to tell jokes.

Tam, of Pleasant Grove, Utah, said Tuesday that Guo would speak in a moving and powerful way about his beliefs. She said Guo loved to dance and wowed his friends on the dance floor in August at a church event for young, unmarried Chinese members of the church.

Tam says Guo was at the center of the dance floor busting out hip-hop moves and was also a talented swing and ballroom dancer.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this story.

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