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'He was always happy': Family, friends remember slain U. student at funeral

SALT LAKE CITY — One of the many things friends say they'll miss about ChenWei Guo is his smile.

"He was always happy. He was everybody's friend. Everybody loved him, and he loved everybody," said Esther Trueman, a friend of the University of Utah student who was shot and killed in an attempted carjacking last week.

Trueman was among nearly 300 family members, friends and fellow U. students who attended funeral services for Guo on Monday at the LDS Institute of Religion at the University of Utah.

Friends held a birthday party for Guo on Sunday, when he would have turned 24, she said.

"He was so kind and loving. He really cared about everyone," Trueman said.

Much of Monday's service was spoken in Mandarin, she said, including comments from Guo's parents, Tong-ming Guo and Hua Zhou. The university arranged for Guo's parents to be brought to Utah.

Elder Gerrit W. Gong, of the Presidency of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also spoke at the funeral, as did mission presidents from Orem and Provo, according to the program. Guo served an LDS Church mission in Provo.

Guo was studying computer science and worked as a peer adviser with the International Student and Scholar Services Office.

Chalimar Swain, director of the office, said Guo was always smiling and would tell her "good morning" when she walked into the office.

"He was someone who wanted to make everyone’s lives easier, and that was really apparent in everything that he did," Swain said at the service. "He is in a happier place now."

Though the mood was somber, Guo's parents expressed that they were proud of their son, she said.

"(They are) proud of who he was, proud of his spirit, proud of his faith," Swain said. "I think the message they wanted us to have is that Chen is still with us."

Guo was born in Beijing, China, and arrived in the U.S. in 2012, according to his biography on the International Student and Scholar Services Office website.

One of Guo's dreams was to open his own consulting company to "help people feel good about themselves," his bio states. He also enjoyed skiing, horseback riding, skydiving, dancing and modern fashion, according to the biography.

"He was very outgoing and made everyone feel so loved," said friend Brittan Herndon, who taught Sunday School in Guo's LDS Church ward.

Guo had been on the canyon road above the university's amphitheater parking lot when he was shot. The shooting led to a lockdown of the university.

The accused gunman, Austin Boutain, slipped away from officers after the incident. He was arrested Oct. 31 at the Salt Lake Main Library after a librarian there recognized him from news reports.

"It’s not something you expect when it’s a friend," Herndon said. "It seemed so unfair that such a great person would be taken."