Slain student's family recalls his 'immense joy' for life

By William Hennelly | | Updated: 2017-11-06 06:56

The family of Guo Chenwei, a University of Utah student who was killed during a carjacking attempt, released a statement about the loss of the young man who brought "immense joy" to family and friends.

The university in Salt Lake City released the statement on Friday on behalf of Guo's family, noting that his life was taken in "a senseless act of violence earlier this week. Understandably, they are grieving the loss of their son and ask for privacy at this time. This is the only statement they will make."

"We are devastated by the loss of our son Chenwei, who brought immense joy into our lives and the lives of all who knew him. It is hard to capture in words his happy, positive outlook on life. Chenwei aspired to work in the future helping others to feel better about themselves," the statement said.

"He was outgoing, adventurous, highly intellectual and a deeply faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was thankful to be able to share his testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ with many as a missionary in Provo.

"We are grateful for the experiences Chenwei had in Utah and at the University of Utah. We are very moved by the outpouring of support and sympathy we have received from so many of his friends and even from those who did not know Chenwei personally. These expressions of remembrance and condolence have given us comfort.

"We know many are interested in Chenwei's story, but we respectfully ask for privacy at this time as we grieve our beloved son."

Guo, 23, of Beijing, a pre-computer science major, was remembered and honored publicly at a candlelight vigil held on the Utah campus on Nov 1. His funeral service is being arranged by his family through The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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.

Slain student's family recalls his 'immense joy' for life

"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

Austin Boutain, the ex-convict accused of killing Guo, casually strolled multiple floors of a downtown Salt Lake City library about 15 hours after the fatal shooting and amid a massive manhunt. But he was quickly arrested in a bathroom by security, according to surveillance video released Thursday.

Videos released by the Salt Lake City Public Library showed Boutain, 24, enter the building just after noon Tuesday, about 4 miles (6 kilometers) from the canyon on the edge of the university campus where police believe Boutain killed Guo during an attempted carjacking.

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.

Boutain, with tattoos on his arms, face and back of his neck and wearing a white T-shirt, black beanie and jeans, can be seen carrying a water bottle and dark jacket around as he walks through multiple floors of the library and rides an elevator.

About 20 minutes after he arrived in the library, the video showed Boutain enter a bathroom on the third floor. About two minutes later, a security guard entered the bathroom.

The guard left but returned quickly with a second guard and entered the bathroom with his hand hovering over a gun on his hip.

A third guard can be seen arriving in the hallway, talking on the phone to someone as the other guards emerge from the bathroom with Boutain, whose wrists are handcuffed behind his back.

Police later said he surrendered without incident.

Other library surveillance footage shows Boutain in a library security holding room standing calmly as officers pat him down and have him sit on a bench waiting for police to arrive.

After about 10 minutes, officers showed up and walked Boutain calmly out of the nearly empty library, according to the footage.

Boutain, who has not yet been formally charged, was being held Thursday in jail on suspicion of aggravated murder, robbery and other charges. He will likely face charges in Utah, then be extradited to Colorado, where police believe he killed 63-year-old Mitchell Ingle, stole his guns and drove his truck to Utah.

Ingle's body was found in his trailer in Colorado on Tuesday.

Boutain's wife, Kathleen Boutain, is also named as suspect in Ingle's death. She was in jail in Utah on drug and theft charges.

No attorney has been listed for the Boutains.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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