SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A man sought in the fatal attempted carjacking of a University of Utah student and believed to be connected to the killing of a Colorado man was arrested Tuesday after he surrendered to authorities at a Salt Lake City library, police said.
Austin Boutain, 24, dodged a manhunt in the rugged foothills near campus for nearly 15 hours before his arrest miles away in the death of ChenWei Guo.
Guo, a 23-year-old student from China, was shot to death Monday evening during an attempted carjacking and found dead in his car in Red Butte Canyon on the edge of campus.
In addition, police in Golden, Colorado, have said they want to question Boutain about the killing of a 63-year-old man whose pickup truck had been driven by Boutain in Utah. The body of Mitchell Bradford Ingle was found Tuesday in his trailer home in Colorado.
Police haven’t released any information about how Ingle was killed. Authorities believe Boutain and his wife were friendly with Ingle and spent some time at the trailer home but aren’t sure how they met.
Kathleen E. Boutain, the suspect’s wife, is also a person of interest in the Colorado case. She was in custody in Utah on unrelated drug and theft charges. She was arrested after she reported to police Monday night that her husband had assaulted her while they were camping in the canyon.
Salt Lake City Police Detective Greg Wilking said Austin Boutain apparently slipped a police containment line in the canyon after Guo was killed.
Boutain was arrested after he was spotted by a librarian at a downtown Salt Lake City library, about 4 miles away (6.44 kilometers) from the shooting scene.
The librarian alerted library security, who arrested Boutain without incident.
“He basically just turned around and surrendered,” Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown said, adding later, “I think he was just acting like anyone else at the library.”
Brown and University of Utah police did not have details about how Boutain evaded police or where he had been since the shooting. He was being interrogated by investigators and was expected to be formally booked into jail later in the day, police said.
Guo, one of thousands of international students at the University of Utah, was a freshman from Beijing who came to the U.S. in 2012 and dreamed of owning his own consulting company. He was studying pre-computer science.
He was a member of the Mormon church, having converted at age 16, served as a missionary in Provo and recently convinced his parents to join him, according to Steve Comrie, a leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints congregation that included Guo.
Guo was “a handsome man who had a quick smile,” was confident in his command of English and considered a leader in the congregation, Comrie said.
Rachel Tam, a 24-year-old friend of Guo, said he would speak in a moving and powerful way about his faith.
Tam said Guo also loved to dance and wowed his friends on the dance floor with hip hop moves at a church event in August.
A lockdown at the university, which has about 32,800 students, ended early Tuesday and university officials canceled classes for the day. About 175 students had to shelter in the library Monday night because they couldn’t return to their homes.
University President David W. Pershing issued a statement calling the killing a “senseless, random act of violence” and said the school would offer counseling.
An arrest record from the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office showed Kathleen Boutain was being held on suspicion of three counts, including theft by receiving stolen property. She acknowledged to police that she was traveling in a stolen vehicle that had stolen firearms, according to arrest records.
Authorities said in the records that the woman had a prescription bottle with a torn-off label that contained zolpidem — a sedative used to treat insomnia.
It wasn’t immediately clear if Austin or Kathleen Boutain had attorneys. No phone numbers were listed publicly for either of them. A phone number listed for Austin Boutain’s parents in Alexandria, Minnesota, rang unanswered.
His mother, Roseanne Boutain, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that the family had hoped he would be quickly captured. She said her family is “heartbroken for the victims and their families. We are sending out our heartfelt and earnest prayers.”
Court records show Austin Boutain had a string of arrests in Minnesota and Alabama dating back to his days as a juvenile for possessing a dangerous weapon on school property, car theft and drug offenses.
Boutain served time in state prison as recently as last spring on a charge of being a convicted sex offender and failing to properly report his whereabouts to police, court documents show.
He was sentenced to five years in prison in November 2015 and paroled in May.
Court records show he married Kathleen Boutain in March 2014 and the couple had two children.
Austin Boutain filed for divorce in January, citing his incarceration, but a judge has not yet issued a final order ending the marriage.
It wasn’t clear Tuesday where the couple’s children were living.
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