ChenWei Guo, a 23-year-old student attending the University of Utah from China, was shot and killed on Monday Oct. 30 in a car-jacking incident. Local police searched 15 hours before finally locating Guo’s alleged killer the following Tuesday morning.
Chris Wen Hao Zou, a freshman at BYU-Hawaii with an undeclared major, said, “I knew ChenWei. We were friends at the MTC (Missionary Training Center). He was a really good guy and super genuine. We were both Chinese, so it was easy to relate to him. When I woke up today to hear the news, I couldn’t believe it, and I never thought anything like this would happen to him.
“Chen was one of those guys that you could really trust.”
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, University of Utah Police Chief Dale Brophy said a woman came to campus and received treatment for some unspecified injuries she had received from her husband, who she reported had assaulted her while they were camping in Red Butte Canyon. The woman’s husband killed Guo just before 9 p.m. at the mouth of the canyon as she was being treated.
Blake Johnson, a freshman studying hotel and tourism management from Utah who described himself as a close friend to Guo, said, “I know what it feels like to lose someone close and I feel for him. I also have friends who are going to the University of Utah, and to hear about an act like this makes me quite fearful knowing that at any moment they could be gone.”
The suspect is identified as Austin J. Boutain, 24, according to the Tribune. He was arrested in the rugged foothills next to the campus.
As a result of the shooting, the university, which has about 32,800 students, performed an emergency lockdown that ended early Tuesday morning, according to ABC News. About 175 students spent the night at the library Monday night. University officials canceled classes for Tuesday.
When asked if he thinks that something like this event could happen at BYU-Hawaii, Johnson said, “No I don’t think so, but then again I am pretty sure that [Guo] didn’t leave class that day thinking he was going to get shot in a car-jacking gone wrong. Laie is peaceful and I don’t know of any case similar to this one that has happened here, but who knows. It could be possible and that makes me kind of scared.”