Arrest of Virginia Tech Student Alarms Campus

Freshman tried to buy 5K rounds of ammo
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 31, 2018 10:42 AM CST
A file photo of Norris Hall on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Va. The building is where a gunman opened fire in 2007.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

(Newser) – The details of an arrest at Virginia Tech is causing plenty of alarm online, though school officials are emphasizing that the campus was never believed to be under threat. Still, the arrest of a freshman who possessed an assault rifle and allegedly tried to buy 5,000 rounds of ammunition was fueling lots of speculation online at a campus that was home to a mass shooting in 2007, reports Richmond.com. Police arrested 19-year-old freshman Yunsong Zhao on felony charges of possessing an assault rifle illegally as a foreign national. Zhao is a native of China who has been in Blacksburg, Va., about six months, reports WDBJ7.

Other details of the arrest drawing attention: Police say Zhao researched bulletproof vests and bought a former police car on which he placed special bumpers, according to court records cited by the TV station. Zhao, arrested without incident, is being held in the Montgomery County Jail. Virginia Tech has been taking criticism for not sending out an alert about the arrest, but the school says it didn't do so because "at no time … did police believe there was any threat to our community, nor is there one now." The statement also took note of online rumors about somebody "stockpiling weapons on or near campus" and said the arrest of Zhao was unrelated. The arrest followed a weeks-long investigation. (Read more Virginia Tech stories.)

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