SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WTVH) - A tip from a concerned gun store owner may have prevented a possible mass shooting at Syracuse University, officials say.
Police arrested 22-year-old Xiaoteng Zhan, who was deported back to his native country, China, after evidence surfaced that he may have been planning a school shooting. John Laubscher, a Madison County gun shop owner, is being credited with refusing to sell the suspect a weapon, reports WTVH.
He recalled Zhan, who was a Syracuse student, entering his store asking to buy an AR-15 to hunt with, but Laubscher became suspicious.
"When we explained to him the limitations on AR's that you can get in New York, he jumped right from that to a shotgun, and then his interest was in the highest capacity shotgun that we had," he explained to WTVH.
The owner said Zhan also claimed the school had a class to teach him how to use the gun. The store owner wasn’t comfortable and refused to sell him the weapon. He then called police to report Zhan.
Police searched Zhan’s apartment, located near the campus, and found ammunition and gun accessories. Officials haven’t released additional details into a possible motive.