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Police Say U of U Shooter, A 'Drifter,' Shot At Another Student

Courtesy / University of Utah

Police are sharing more details about what happened at the University of Utah Monday night, when a student was fatally shot.

Police said Wednesday that U of U student ChenWei Guo was in the car with another student when he was allegedly shot and killed by 24-year-old suspect Austin Boutain. Boutain then tried to force the unidentified female student up the canyon with him.

“Victim No. 2 took an opportunity when Mr. Boutain was distracted and fled on foot, at which time, Mr. Boutain fired two times at Victim No. 2, narrowly missing her,” said University Police Sgt. Garth Smith at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

Police said the student was uninjured but “severely traumatized.” They said Boutain then fled into the mountains east of campus.

Law enforcement secured a perimeter around campus but say the suspect escaped to the north by crawling low to the ground. They said he walked through the Avenues neighborhood and headed for the area of downtown shelters.

Police are looking for a handgun involved in the case. Boutain told them he hid it downtown but the gun was missing when he returned for it.

Police believe the firearm was stolen from another homicide victim, Mitchell Bradford Ingle, in Golden, CO. Boutain and his wife, Kathleen Boutain, are the sole suspects in that case.

University police said Boutain has admitted to Monday night’s crime and is cooperating. He was arrested Tuesday afternoon at the downtown library. He’s been charged with aggravated murder, aggravated robbery and criminal homicide.

Police also revealed more information about the pair. They described the Boutains as “drifters” who travel from state to state. They have visited Utah before and most recently arrived late in the evening of Saturday, Oct. 28. They spent most of their time downtown, but were camping in Red Butte Canyon on Monday.

Kathleen Boutain contacted University police around 8 p.m. on Monday to say her husband had assaulted her. Police say a shots-fired call came in a few minutes later, and ChenWei was found dead. Parts of campus were on lockdown until early Tuesday.

Nicole Nixon holds a Communication degree from the University of Utah. She has worked on and off in the KUER Newsroom since 2013, when she first joined KUER as an intern. Nicole is a Utah native. Besides public radio, she is also passionate about beautiful landscapes and breakfast burritos.
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