Gun-Wielding University of New Haven Student to Serve 2 Years Behind Bars

The former University of New Haven student accused of bringing loaded guns to campus last winter and sparking a massive police presence and lockdown has pleaded guilty and will serve at least two years behind bars, according to the Milford Judicial District.

William Dong, 23, brought two handguns and a banned assault rifle to campus last December, prompting a campus-wide lockdown and building-by-building search, according to authorities.

He was arrested and charged with illegal possession of an assault weapon, breach of peace and other counts after police found 2,700 rounds of ammunition and newspaper clippings about mass shootings in his padlocked bedroom.

Dong was later charged by federal authorities with unlawful transport of a semi-automatic Bushmaster rifle.

He initially pleaded not guilty, but has since reversed the plea. According to the Milford Judicial District clerk's office, Dong pleaded guilty to one count of illegal sale and transfer of an assault weapon and two counts of illegal possession of a pistol in court Friday.

Dong was sentenced to eight years in prison, according to the court. He'll serve a minimum of two years behind bars before the sentence can be suspended. He will also serve five years' probation and will be required to register with the deadly weapon offender registry.

"This individual imported a newly banned assault weapon into the state in violation of the new law," Gov. Dannel Malloy said in a statement Friday. "His weapon was a Bushmaster AR-15. His home and personal belongings contained news clippings on mass shootings – the 2012 Aurora, Colorado theatre shooting in particular."

Malloy said that without a quick response from law enforcement and restrictions imposed by the new gun law, the incident at UNH "might have been another tragic day in Connecticut's history."

Dong's friends called the incident a "huge misunderstanding" and said Dong was just confused about where he was allowed to carry guns.

Dong told authorities he had been planning to visit a shooting range the next day and carried guns to protect himself in the event of a mass shooting.

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