ROANOKE, Va. (AP) – A Virginia Tech freshman has been charged with illegally possessing a rifle. Virginia Tech spokesman Mark Owczarski confirmed to the Richmond Times-Dispatch that Yunsong Zhao was arrested Monday. Owczarski says Zhao is accused of possessing a rifle, a weapon that Virginia law says foreign nationals cannot possess, and trying to order 5,000 rounds of ammunition.
The university issued a statement Tuesday saying Zhao didn’t pose a threat to campus. The arrest sparked comparisons to the 2007 mass shooting on the school’s campus and rumors of a weapon stockpile. Tech Police Chief Kevin Foust says an investigation found the rumor to be inaccurate.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Mary Pettitt declined to comment. The newspaper couldn’t reach Zhao’s attorney, Jason Wolfrey.
Zhao faces up to 5 years in prison if convicted.