The UCF Police Department were first alerted to Wenliang Sun on Feb. 1 after it was reported that he showed a "dramatic change" in his appearance and behavior, and that he purchased a $70,000 new car with cash "out of the blue," said the university in a press release.
The school says he refused to hand over the gun for safekeeping.
The following day, Sun disclosed in an interview with UCFPD that he owned an LWRC 300 Blackout rifle and ammunition, which he kept in a storage unit because his apartment complex did not allow firearms.
On Feb. 7, just a few days after being questioned by authorities, Sun bought a second gun, a modified .308 caliber rifle with a scope and bipod.
According to the statement from the university, the purchase of this second firearm was "particularly alarming." At this point, UCF said they had already brought his case to the ATF, ICE and Homeland Security.
Sun's nonimmigrant status was then terminated – not because of the firearm purchases, but rather because he wasn't going to class, which as an F-1 international student is required to maintain his visa.
At that point, ownership of both guns became illegal and Sun was taken into custody on Feb. 7 by Homeland Security and ATF for violations of the terms of his admission to the U.S. and potential violation of federal firearms laws.
Authorities say Sun never made any specific threats.
"People noticed a distressing change in this young man, and they alerted UCFPD," said UCF Police Chief Richard Beary in a statement. "Our detectives investigated and elevated their concerns to our federal partners, who took swift and appropriate action. Safety is truly a team effort, and it is through vigilance and partnership that we create a more secure community for each other."
Last week, on March 21, a judge ordered Sun be sent back to China for not complying with the terms of his nonimmigrant status.
Sun is not allowed to return to the country for at least 10 years as part of the terms of this order and is currently being held in the Baker County Detention Center in Macclenny, Florida.
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After classmates reported a fellow University of Central Florida student for displaying "disturbing behavior" and owning multiple assault rifles, a judge has ruled that he be deported for violating his visa.