Austin Boutain, the Colorado man who fatally shot University of Utah student ChenWei Guo, was arrested by police officers on Tuesday, according to CNN. He was spotted by a librarian inside a Salt Lake City Public Library who recognized him and alerted officials shortly after 1 p.m.
Authorities learned that after killing Guo, Boutain coerced a female friend of Guo’s, who had been present at the time of the shooting, to flee the scene of the crime with him. The woman, who wished to remain anonymous, said that he had attempted to force her up the canyon before becoming distracted, allowing the woman to run away. Boutain reportedly fired at her as she fled, according to campus police.
University Police Chief Dale Brophy said that the woman, also a student at the University of Utah, escaped uninjured, although she was “very traumatized” and was unable to clearly convey what happened to officials “due to the amount of shock she was in”, Brophy stated.
Police believe that Boutain made his way north to the foothills of the Wasatch Front and ended up in the Avenues area, a reputedly well-to-do neighborhood in Salt Lake City, Utah. From there, he made his way downtown to a library, where he was recognized by a librarian due to the massive overnight manhunt broadcast by officials on local media channels. The librarian greeted Boutain as he stepped out of the elevator, like she would all library patrons, then waited until he was out of earshot before calling security. He was apprehended shortly thereafter in the library restroom, where he was unarmed.
During police interrogation, Boutain admitted to fatally shooing 23-year-old Guo so that he could steal his car. He also stated that he attempted to take the unnamed woman with him, later firing two rounds at her when she escaped, with “the intent to kill her so there were no witnesses”, according to police documents.
Boutain, along with his wife, Kathleen Boutain, are also believed to be connected to the murder of 63-year-old Colorado resident Mitchell Bradford Ingle. Police stated that Ingle died within the last week in a recreational vehicle. Although officials state that the Boutains are persons of interest and not suspects, their connection is murky at best. “We just know they were here,” said Golden Police Department Capt. Joe Harvey. “There were clear signs that [Ingle] did not die of natural causes.”
Meanwhile, friends and family members are mourning the loss of Guo, who was described by the University of Utah as an “extraordinarily outgoing, creative, smart, and extremely engaged” student.
We’re absolutely heart-stricken by the loss of student ChenWei Guo. He was “extraordinarily outgoing, creative, smart & extremely engaged.” pic.twitter.com/cOqkRzu91t
— University of Utah (@UUtah) October 31, 2017
A candlelight vigil was held on Wednesday at the University in his memory.
Guo, a member of the LDS faith and return missionary, was to celebrate his 24th birthday on November 5. Close friends have set up a GoFundMe account to help cover funeral-related expenses; due to the outpouring support, however, ChenWei’s mother expressed her wish to create a fund for those in need.
“Thank you all so much. I have received much help from so many kind people that I had never met before and reached out to us,” she said on the GoFundMe page. “If possible and if the kind hearted people would like, I’d like to have a charitable fund that is named after Chenwei Guo to help more people that needed help.”
She also added “Please don’t worry about me and the family”.
The investigation is ongoing.
Feature Image via Twitter / University of Utah