UPDATE: Austin Boutain has been arrested.
A student is dead and a massive manhunt is underway after a shooting at the University of Utah on October 30. The Salt Lake City Police Department said in a tweet that authorities are seeking Austin Boutain, 24, in relation to the attack. The victim has been named as Chinese national ChenWei Guo. He was studying computer science at the school. The call of a shooting first came in at around 9 p.m. on October 30 when students were advised to “shelter-in-place.” As a result of the incident, classes at the school were canceled on October 31.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Boutain’s Wife Was Also Injured During the Incident
Authorities have described the shooting as a carjacking. University of Utah Police Chief Dale Brophy told the media that Boutain’s wife, Kathleen, was also on the scene. She told cops that the couple had been camping in a canyon on the east side of the school. Chief Brophy didn’t say if Kathleen Boutain is connected to the shooting but she had been injured when she spoke to investigators. She is now in police custody. One witness said that he heard two shots being fired. The couple’s camp has been located.
Boutain is driving a green pick-up truck with Colorado plates. He was wearing a beanie had and all-black clothing. Boutain is considered armed-and-dangerous. The FBI has joined local police as well as the Utah Department of Public Safety in the search for Boutain. He is heavily tattooed with ink on neck, left arm and left hand.
2. Boutain Is Also Wanted in Relation to a Murder in Colorado
Officials said at a press conference that Boutain is wanted in relation to a murder in Colorado earlier in October.
Online records show that Boutain has criminal history in Ohio, Alabama and Wisconsin. Speaking to the New York Daily News, Boutain’s brother, Lee, said that he hadn’t heard from his brother in months. Lee Boutain said that his brother a “skipped parole in Wisconsin.”
KSL reports that in 2015, Boutain was arrested in Cincinnati after he “engaged in violent behavior” while running from police inside of the Good Samaritan Hospital. He pleaded guilty to the charges which were later dismissed.
3. In the Last Few Months, Boutain Has Been Showing Off His Guitar Skills on YouTube
Boutain maintained a YouTube channel that he began in August 2017. His videos showed off his guitar skills. The three songs performed by Boutain are “Everlong” by the Foo Fighters, “Glycerine” by Bush and “Seether” by Veruca Salt. The only other video on the page shows him and his wife at an amusement park.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports that Boutain has family in Minnesota. According to two Facebook pages that Boutain shares with his wife, the family used to live in Alabama and were married in 2014. The couple has a daughter together. On her Pinterest page, Kathleen Boutain speaks about her religion saying:
On my way to the holy city. I am married to my amazing husband and to God! If you are looking for love don’t come to my page, go to God! God Bless You!
In July 2015, Boutain’s younger brother, Hunter Alton Boutain, died at the age of 14 at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis.
4. ChenWei Guo’s ‘Dream Was to Help People Feel Good About Themselves’
ChenWei Guo’s Facebook page has become a shrine to the deceased student. According to the page, ChenWei Guo was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and had been a missionary at the Utah Provo Mission. One friend, John Hilton III, wrote on the page, “I was shocked and saddened to hear of your passing. The power of your conversion story has remained with me ever since you shared it. I have admired you ever since we first met. I will be keeping your family in my prayers.” Here are some other poignant tributes:
ChenWei Guo had a profile at the International Student and Scholar Services website. That bio says that Guo came to the U.S. in 2012. It continues saying, “His dream is to one day have his owen consulting company to help more people feel good about themselves.” His hobbies included skydiving, skiing, horseback riding, dancing, modern fashion and French bulldogs.
The Governor of Utah Gary Herbert tweeted, “Fervent prayers for all dealing with the #UofUShooting tonight. Stay safe and follow directions to shelter in place.” University President David Pershing said in a statement, “We have been in contact with ChenWei’s family in China and they are understandably devastated by the loss of their son. We are working to bring them to Utah as soon as possible and will offer them all the assistance we can.”
5. This Is the First Shooting at the University of Utah Since an Horrific Murder/Suicide in December 2016
In December 2016, Richard Peralta, 25, shot and killed his wife, Katherine, 23, in front of of the ARUP Laboratories at the University of Utah. The Salt Lake City Tribune reported at the time that Richard Peralta then turned the gun on himself, committed suicide. Chief Brophy said that Richard Peralta has served in the U.S. Navy and that his wife worked at the laboratory. The couple had one child together. Prior to that incident, there hadn’t been a fatal shooting at the school since June 2007 when a white supremacist prison inmate named Curtis Allgier killed corrections officer Stephen Anderson at the school. Allgier had been at the school for a back examination. He was later sentenced to life without the chance of parole.
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