Police: Utah murder suspect in custody

Police in Salt Lake City say the suspect in the fatal shooting of a University of Utah college student is in custody. http://kare11.tv/2zjUClm

SALT LAKE CITY - Police in Salt Lake City say the suspect in the fatal shooting of a University of Utah college student is in custody. 

At this point there is no information on where or when 24-year-old Austin Boutain was taken into custody. Police are expected to release more in a press conference Tuesday afternoon. 

 

 

Law enforcement had been carrying out a massive manhunt for Boutain, a man with significant Minnesota ties, since the international student was shot Monday night in what has been described as a carjacking. And now authorities say Boutain may be tied to a murder in Colorado as well. University of Utah police chief Dale Brophy said Tuesday at a press conference in Salt Lake City that Boutain and his wife, Kathleen E. Boutain, are wanted in a homicide in Golden, Colorado, last week.

Salt Lake County jail records show Kathleen E. Boutain was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail on Tuesday on unrelated drug and theft charges.

The Echo Press says Austin Boutain has a brother who lives in Alexandria, and family living elsewhere in Minnesota. Boutain's brother Hunter died in July of 2015 of bacterial meningitis. At first it was believed Hunter contracted a brain-eating amoeba while swimming in Glenwood's Lake Minnewaska, but an autopsy proved otherwise. 

 

 

In a statement Tuesday morning, University President David W. Pershing identified the shooting victim as ChenWei Guo, a pre-computer science major who worked as a peer advisor in the International Student and Scholar Services Office.

"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," Pershing said in the statement.

Guo was sitting in a car close to a gate in Red Butte Canyon when he was shot by a man who was trying to carjack his vehicle, Pershing added.

"I wouldn’t call it an active shooter situation, but there is still a suspect who’s armed and dangerous that we would like to take into custody," Salt Lake City Police Sgt. Brandon Shearer said late Monday.

Police said they are searching for Boutain in connection to the shooting that happened about 9 p.m. just after a woman reported that he assaulted her. She told police he was in the canyon and that she believed he had a gun, said University of Utah Police Chief Dale Brophy. Detectives believe the pair had been camping in the canyon.

Police believed Boutain was in the hills above Red Butte Canyon. More than 100 officers scoured the area overnight on the ground and in the air. The eastern half of the campus, including Primary Children's Hospital were locked down.

Around 3 a.m., the university announced on Twitter that the lockdown was lifted but classes were canceled Tuesday. Facilities and services at the university remained open. Additional staff were available at the school's Counseling Center, and the Employee Assistance Program was available to help with counseling for staff and faculty Tuesday.

Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski tweeted Tuesday morning that the foothills behind the Huntsman Cancer Institute are closed.

University officials and campus police planned a news conference to update the situation at 10 a.m.

The suspected gunman was wearing black clothes, a beanie hat and has a tattoo on his face with a cross and teardrop, Shearer said. Boutain also has a tattoo covering the front of his neck, and a tattoo down his left arm and onto his left hand, according to Salt Lake City police.

Police initially said he possibly was driving a forest green pickup truck with Colorado plates but later said it wasn't clear if he still had access to that car Monday evening.

Criminal history

Boutain has no criminal record in Utah. But according to the Metro Gang Unit, he does have a criminal history out of state.

Two years ago in Cincinnati, Ohio, Boutain faced charges of disrupting official business and disorderly conduct. According to court papers, he engaged in violent behavior when he ran from police through the 13th floor of Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati, frightening patients and staff.

He later pleaded guilty to the disrupting charge. The disorderly conduct charge was dismissed.

And Boutain's brother told the New York Daily News that he had not heard from the suspect in months, since he skipped out on parole in Wisconsin. 

Students hear gunshots

U. student Andrew Cleveland said his friends, who were in the Peterson Heritage Center near the canyon Monday night, sent him texts saying there was a suspected shooter.

"Right when I got that text message, I heard two gunshots right outside my window," he said. Cleveland said his apartment is roughly 100 yards from the canyon. He hid and couldn't see anything from his window, he said.

Boston Walch was nearby at a Halloween party in the LDS Institute of Religion as police combed the foothills for a suspect. Walch said officers told students there to stay inside and away from windows, and go upstairs. Some at the institute tried to leave the building to go to a dance.

"Police told them to go back inside," Walch said.

KSL-TV


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