More than 200 officers searched the University of Utah campus in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, hunting for a gunman who killed a student during a carjacking attempt after a domestic dispute.
Search helicopters whirred over Red Butte Canyon, a research area on the east side of the school, where classes were canceled on Tuesday following the shooting on Monday night, authorities said. An overnight “secure-in-place” alert for the entire campus was lifted early on Tuesday.
University of Utah Police Chief Dale Brophy said the suspect, identified as Austin Boutain, 24, had assaulted his wife while camping in the canyon, which is used for research and has a public botanical garden, arboretum and hiking trails.
Brophy said Boutain then tried to hijack a car, fatally shooting ChenWei Guo, an international student and a pre-computer science major.
ChenWei worked as a peer adviser in the International Student and Scholar Services Office, 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,” Pershing said in a statement. “We are working to bring them to Utah as soon as possible and will offer them all the assistance we can.”
The FBI and more than 200 law enforcement officers joined the hunt for Boutain, who police believe fled into the nearby Wasatch Mountains and was “considered armed and dangerous,” Brophy said.
“We want to be sure we check all the nooks and crannies, anywhere this person might be hiding,” Brophy said. “We will continue our search until we are confident he’s not in the mountains or we find Mr. Boutain.”
Brophy declined to give more information about the suspect, including whether he was a student or where he lives.
Boutain’s wife approached campus police at about 8:15 p.m. on Monday to report being assaulted by her husband, Brophy said. She later was treated and was released, he said.
Shortly thereafter, police received reports of shots fired.
Commuter train services were suspended near the school, local media reported.
By Barbara Goldberg