January 30, 2018, 2:22 PM

Virginia Tech student had assault rifle, tried to purchase 5,000 rounds of ammo: police

Yunsong Zhao


Last Updated Jan 30, 2018 7:08 PM EST

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- A 19-year-old Virginia Tech student has been arrested on an illegal firearms charge after attempting to purchase 5,000 rounds of ammunition, authorities said Tuesday. Yunsong Zhao was taken into custody without incident Monday following an investigation that lasted several weeks, a university spokesperson told CBS News.

Zhao has been charged with one count of possessing an assault firearm without having U.S. citizenship, officials said.

A university spokesperson said Zhao is no longer a student at the college following the incident.

Zhao has family in China and had been living in Blacksburg, Virginia, for six months at the time of his arrest, CBS affiliate WDBJ reports, citing court documents. He is being held at Montgomery County Jail and will appear in court on March 1.

Police said Zhao also purchased a former police vehicle outfitted with special bumpers and had been researching bulletproof vests, WDBJ reports.

The university said police did not believe there was a threat to the community during the investigation.

"I want to personally thank each and every one of you in assisting us here in our efforts to keep all Hokies safe," Virginia Tech Police Chief Kevin Foust said in a statement posted to Facebook on Monday.

Alvaro Barros, a freshman from Brazil, said he knew Zhao from the university's summer program.

"He seemed like a normal guy, you know what I mean? Just someone trying to make friends and trying to blend in like everyone else," Barros told WDBJ.

"I was just shocked because he doesn't seem like the guy that would do it, not at all," Barros added. "So coming from a different country, you really see how people can be different inside than they are outside."

Max Weinberg, a freshman from Pennsylvania, told the station he was surprised and "kind of scared" that "somebody would try and do something like that."

Last April marked 10 years since a 23-year-old student shot and killed shot 32 people at Virginia Tech. Survivors returned to campus for a series of events that celebrated the lives lost on April 16, 2007.