Authorities are scouring a canyon in Utah by foot and by air for a man suspected of killing a Chinese international student at the University of Utah.
The university said 23-year-old ChenWei Guo was killed late Monday in what police believe was a fatal car jacking near the university.
“Today our campus is in shock. Last night, university student, ChenWei Guo – an international student from China was killed in a senseless, random act of violence," said university president David W. Pershing. "We’ve cancelled classes today in respect for Mr. ChenWei Guo and for the impact this has had on our campus community.”
Police say a man named Austin Boutain is suspected in the killing. They say Boutain and his wife Kathleen are also wanted in connection with a homicide last week in Colorado.
At least eight law enforcement agencies were on scene in Utah, including the FBI. A helicopter assisted in the search.
“We are now going through a strong-wall search, where we have officers about five meters apart, walking so they can see each other through the brush in the foothills,” said Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown to the Utah Daily Chronicle.
Authorities said they believe Boutain is in the foothills above Red Butte Canyon, but were continuing to search the campus.
Several people and organizations took to social media to express their condolences to the student and his family.
“This is incredibly shocking and sad news.The victim, ChenWei Guo, was a good friend of mine," wrote Franklin Yuan on Facebook. "He served an honorable mission in Utah Provo Mission. I first met him when he was a missionary on BYU campus.
"He was a bright, faithful, caring and charismatic Chinese young man with a promising future. Please pray for him and his family in China.”
Many other students expressed similar condolences.
“Our thoughts are with the family of fellow student ChenWei Guo and our entire University of Utah campus community today. #UteFamily,” said the Mighty Utah Student Section on Twitter.
“RIP to a fellow LDS member, RM, and student of the University of Utah. Prayers for his family as they receive the news & travel to the US,” tweeted University of Utah student Leipua Brown.
Paul Ross of VOA's StudentU and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
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