A Virginia Tech freshman has been charged with illegally possessing an assault weapon as a foreigner.
Virginia Tech spokesman Mark Owczarski told local media that Yunsong Zhao of China was arrested Monday. He faces up to 5 years in prison if convicted of possessing an AR-15 assault weapon, which foreigners cannot have under Virginia law, and of trying to order 5,000 rounds of ammunition.
The investigation into Zhao began after campus police received a report about "someone on campus" who had been "stockpiling weapons," Virginia Tech Police said, adding that others on campus were hearing that they "should avoid large lecture classes." However, police found no evidence that those rumors were accurate.
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People on campus criticized the university for not alerting them about the arrest, which revived memories of the 2007 mass shooting at Virginia Tech. But campus police said in a statement that there was no active threat.
On April 16, 2007, Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people on campus that cold April day. More than two dozen others were wounded by bullets or hurt trying to escape. It was, at the time, the deadliest mass shooting in recent U.S. history.
The Virginia Teach shooting forced schools across the country to rethink campus security and reignited the debate over gun control that rages to this day.