Friends of slain U of U student speak

SALT LAKE CITY - The tragic death of ChenWei Guo is ringing through the heart of the community. During this difficult time, ChenWei's loved ones focused on the love and light he brought into their lives.

Many knew him as a student at the University of Utah, others knew him as Elder Gou, as he served his LDS mission in Provo. But no matter how they met him, his friends say they'll never forget him.

“Why him? I'm still asking that question, why him, why ChenWei?” asked Ellie Ma, who served in the same mission as Elder Guo.

“Even now it's hard to believe,” said Pedro Villalva, who was friends with Guo.

ChenWei touched the lives of everyone he met. Whether it was in the mission field, or at school.

“He is the sweetest guy. I think everyone would agree that he was always smiling and he could just light up a room,” said Jenny Morgan, who served in the same mission as Guo.

ChenWei was known for his unwavering desire to serve.

“Whenever there was any kind of help needed, he'd be the first to jump and say 'I’ll do it',” Villalva said.

“He is just so willing to give, whether you know him or not he will give and he is so loving he has a really strong testimony,” Ma said.

Early Tuesday morning, those close to ChenWei found out the devastating news. A life was taken too soon.

ChenWei first came to the US as an LDS missionary. He grew up in Beijing, where the church could not proselytize. In his early teens, he read the The Book of Mormon and traveled to Hong Kong by himself to meet with missionaries. He was baptized, and called to serve in Provo. During his mission, he would write his parents encouraging them to read the book of Mormon. They were baptized last year, and sealed together in July.

“I think it was special they could come to Salt Lake and be sealed to him, and he was able to have all that done three months before this tragic experience,” Morgan said.

ChenWei, his parents' only child, would have turned 24 this Sunday.

“I just can’t imagine how hard it would be for his family supporting their only child to live in country and get a better education and then finding this out,” Villalva said.

While this stirs anger and pain, his loved ones say ChenWei would want them to forgive.

“I can picture him saying that just forgive him love others and forget about it and keep going on,” Villalva said.

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help ChenWei’s family with funeral expenses.