International student sent back to home country; legally owned two firearms

The University of Central Florida (UCF) reported that a man, armed with heavy-duty military-style rifles who displayed disturbing behavior, will be removed to China following a collaboration among campus and federal law enforcement who were left shaken by what could have been.

“The ‘See Something, Say Something’ message worked on every level,” said UCF Police Chief Richard Beary. “People noticed a distressing change in this young man, and they alerted UCFPD. Our detectives investigated and elevated their concerns to our federal partners, who took swift and appropriate action.”

They say that Wenliang Sun, 26, was enrolled as an nonimmigrant F-1 international student in an academic and cultural program at UCF that prepares international students for success at an American university.

Sun was reportedly brought to the UCF Police Department's (UCFPD) attention on February 1st by university staff who reported a dramatic change in Sun's appearance and behavior. Sun previously disclosed that he owned a high-powered firearm, which escalated the concern.

UCF officials say that UCFPD made contact with Sun the next day. Sun confirmed to them that he owned a LWRC 300 Blackout rifle and ammunition, which he kept in a public storage facility due to firearms not being allowed at his off-campus apartment complex. He refused to hand the gun over to police for safekeeping.

On February 7th, officials say Sun purchased a second firearm, a .308 Ruger Precision caliber rifle that Sun had a bipod and scope added to. He also purchased ammunition for that firearm. Both guns were purchased legally because federal law allows for those holding nonimmigrant visas to possess a firearm if they hold a hunting license, which Sun possessed.

The purchase of the second firearm was alarming to UCFPD and they had reportedly already brought the case to the attention of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Officials say that Sun's nonimmigrant status was terminated after he purchased the second firearm for noncompliance with regulations unrelated to the firearms purchase. As an F-1 international student, he was required to attend classes, but he did not. 

Once Sun no longer had legal nonimmigrant status in the U.S., his ownership of both firearms was no longer legal and he was reportedly taken into custody on February 7th. 

Then, on March 21st, officials say that an immigration judge order Sun be sent back to China because he did not comply with the terms of his nonimmigrant status. He is not allowed to return to the county for at least 10 years.

“Law enforcement and the concerned community in this case, showed that the campaign for ‘See Something, Say Something’ is much more than just words,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Daryl McCrary.

“This is a case where successful communication at every level of law enforcement may have prevented another school tragedy,” said HSI Tampa Special Agent in Charge James C. Spero.