An international student at UCF who owned high-powered rifles and alarmed police and classmates with his “disturbing behavior” is being deported to China, after a judge found him to be out of compliance with his visa, officials said.
Wenliang Sun, 26, came to the attention of UCF police after university staff reported a “dramatic change” in his appearance and behavior — including spending $70,000 cash on a new car “out of the blue” — the university said in a press release.
“People noticed a distressing change in this young man, and they alerted UCFPD,” said Chief Richard Beary in a statement distributed by UCF. “Our detectives investigated and elevated their concerns to our federal partners, who took swift and appropriate action.
In an interview with police Feb. 2, Sun confirmed that he owned an assault-style rifle and ammunition, which he kept in a storage facility due to guns not being allowed at his off-campus apartment complex, The Verge on Jefferson Commons Circle, police said.
Days after the interview, he bought a second gun: a .308 caliber rifle.
The second gun “was particularly alarming” to authorities, the university’s statement said, because Sun had it modified to add a bipod and scope. He also had purchased ammo for the gun, officials said.
UCF police had already contacted the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, as well as federal customs and homeland security officials, who began investigating, officials said.
According to the statement, both guns were purchased legally, as federal law allows non-immigrant visa holders to own firearms if they also carry a hunting license, which Sun did. He had been participating in an academic and cultural program for international students at UCF.
Sun’s non-imigrant status was later revoked due to an issue unrelated to his gun purchases: He was not attending classes, but was required to do so in order to maintain his visa, officials said.
Once his status was revoked, owning the guns became illegal, the university said. Sun was taken into custody Feb. 7 by federal agents for violating the terms of his admission to the country and potential violations of federal firearms laws, according to the statement.
An immigration judge on March 21 ordered that Sun be sent back to China.
He may not return to the United States for at least 10 years, officials said.
“This is a case where successful communication at every level of law enforcement may have prevented another school tragedy,” said James C. Spero, special agent in charge for the the Tampa office of Homeland Security Investigations, an arm of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
According to a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement database, Sun on Thursday was being held in the Baker County Detention Center in Macclenny, a city in North Florida.
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