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UNH student arrested on gun charges had 2,700 rounds of ammo in room

DAVE COLLINS, Associated Press

Publication: theday.com

Published December 04. 2013 11:41AM   Updated December 04. 2013 6:15PM

WEST HAVEN — A Connecticut college student arrested for carrying two handguns on campus also had an assault rifle and bullets in his car, and police found 2,700 rounds of ammunition and newspaper clippings of the Colorado theater shooting at his home, authorities said Wednesday.

William Dong, 22, a student at the University of New Haven, was arraigned Wednesday in Milford Superior Court on several charges including illegal possession of an assault weapon. A judge ordered a mental health evaluation and kept his bail at $500,000. Dong remained detained Wednesday evening.

No shots were fired and no one was injured in Tuesday's scare at University of New Haven campus in West Haven, which was locked down for more than four hours as police arrested Dong and searched the school grounds. Several nearby public schools also issued shelter-in-place orders as a precaution.

Police said Wednesday that they weren't sure why Dong brought the guns to campus, and State's Attorney Kevin Lawlor declined to comment on a motive.

A public defender who represented Dong for bail purposes only Wednesday didn't return messages. Dong's family declined to comment while leaving court.

Lawlor said that after Dong was arrested, police searched his home in Fairfield and found 2,700 rounds of ammunition of various sizes and the clippings of the Aurora, Colo., theater shooting last year that killed 12 people and wounded 70.

Dong lived with his parents and commuted to school, authorities said. The ammunition and newspaper clippings were found in Dong's room, which was padlocked on the outside to keep people from getting in, Lawlor said.

A customer at a grocery store near the university called 911 shortly after 1 p.m. Tuesday to report a man leaving his car with a gun and walking toward campus, police said. Everyone on campus was advised to get inside. Officers confronted Dong within minutes near a dormitory and arrested him, said Sgt. David Tammaro, a spokesman for West Haven police.

Dong was carrying the two handguns, for which he had permits, and ammunition, authorities said. Police also found a Bushmaster assault rifle and ammunition for it in Dong's car parked near campus. Lawlor said the rifle appeared to be the same kind used by Adam Lanza to kill 20 first-graders and six adults at a school last year in Newtown, about 20 miles away.

The lockdown was lifted at about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday after police searched the campus. About 6,400 students attend the school, and the majority of its 4,600 undergraduates live in university housing.

"We are all grateful that the situation was diffused quickly and that no one was injured," UNH President Steven Kaplan said in a statement. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy planned to commend first responders Wednesday evening on campus.

The scare was the third at a Connecticut university in the past several weeks.

Last week, Yale University in neighboring New Haven was locked down for six hours after a man called police and said somebody was coming to shoot up the campus. Police have said that appeared to be a hoax.

Central Connecticut State University was in lockdown for hours Nov. 4 after reports by witnesses of a masked man carrying a gun or sword. Police arrested a student, David Kyem, who said he had been wearing a ninja-like Halloween costume and meant no harm. He faces charges including breach of peace.

Dong is scheduled to appear in court again Dec. 17.

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