Wednesday, 18 September, 2019

Virginia Tech Exchange Student Arrested for Possession of Assault Rifle

Yungsong Zhao Yungsong Zhao
Patty Aguilar | 31 January, 2018, 22:03

Virginia Tech police on Monday arrested a student who allegedly had an "assault rifle" and tried to buy 5,000 rounds of ammunition, authorities said.

Police say Zhao had bought a former police vehicle - which still had police markings - and installed a special bumper to the auto.

Yungsong Zhao, 19, was arrested Monday and charged with felony possessing an assault rifle firearm while not being a lawfully admitted USA citizen, according to arrest warrants obtained by WDBJ7.

His family lives in China and, although The Collegiate Times noted that Zhao had no previous criminal record in China, he had only been living in Blacksburg for six months.

In a statement, university officials said unsubstantiated rumors had been circulating on campus about an individual stockpiling weapons and that Zhao's arrest was not linked to those rumors.

After checking out his Bushmaster XM-15 from the student gun locker at the Public Safety Building on January 26, university police asked Blacksburg Police Department detectives to follow Zhao to a local shooting range.

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Zhao has been jailed since his arrest.

Meanwhile, Zhao's attorney, Jason Wolfrey, said in an emailed statement on Tuesday that he anticipated that evidence presented at a bond hearing scheduled for Thursday afternoon would demonstrate that the "fears associated with this case have been significantly over sensationalized and there was never any threat to the community", NBC News reported.

As online commenters linked Zhao to rumors of a weapons stockpile and warnings that Tech students should stay away from large lecture halls, the university urged calm. "And because there was no threat, a VT Alert was not sent Monday", the statement added.

Today, following a lengthy investigation, VTPD served an arrest warrant on a student for a firearms violation. On Jan. 22, police were informed that Zhao had bought a 30-round magazine. However, we will continue to be vigilant for our community. Hence, we obtained an arrest warrant for that student and took him into custody earlier today without incident.

This past April marked 10 years since the Virginia Tech shooting when a gunman killed 32 people on campus.

Foust said in a statement posted to Facebook on Monday: 'I want to personally thank each and every one of you in assisting us here in our efforts to keep all Hokies safe'.

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