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Fairfield Man Who Caused UNH Lockdown Charged with Federal Firearms Offense

William Dong, 22, Fairfield. Credit: West Haven Police
William Dong, 22, Fairfield. Credit: West Haven Police

A Fairfield man who allegedly took an assault weapon and two handguns onto the grounds of University of New Haven last month has been charged by federal criminal complaint with the unlawful transport into Connecticut of an assault weapon purchased in Pennsylvania. 

As alleged in the criminal complaint, that was unsealed today during Dong’s appearance in New Haven Federal Court, the 23-year-old UNH student traveled to Pennsylvania in approximately September 2013, purchased a Bushmaster model XM-15-E2S, .223 caliber semi-automatic rifle and transported the rifle back to Connecticut. This firearm is considered a prohibited assault weapon under Connecticut state law.

Dong was arrested in the vicinity of the UNH campus after he was found in possession of two handguns on his person, and the Bushmaster rifle, which was seized from his nearby car. Dong told police that he had purchased the rifle from a seller in Pennsylvania in September 2013 through an advertisement placed on www.armslist.com, according to court documents.

Although it is not unlawful under federal law for an individual to possess this Bushmaster firearm, it is a federal violation for an individual to purchase this firearm outside of Connecticut and travel into the state with it, since it is a prohibited firearm under Connecticut state law, according to the US Attorney’s Office.

Dong has been detained in state custody since his arrest and today agreed to the entry of a federal order of detention and waived his right to a speedy indictment and a probable cause hearing. The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years of imprisonment and a $250,000 fine, according to the US Attorney’s Office. 

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