FAIRFIELD, Conn. – After a police search of the home of William Dong, who was charged with carrying an assault rifle near the University of New Haven campus, Fairfield Police Chief Gary MacNamara said he was sure something bad could have happened.
“I don’t know what it was, but something bad was going to happen either yesterday or sometime in the future,” MacNamara said of the items found in Dong's home during the search Tuesday night.
The arrest of Dong thwarted a possible shooting, MacNamara said, based on the information collected in the suspect's home and at the scene at UNH.
The campus was on lockdown most of Tuesday afternoon on a report of a man with a weapon on campus. West Haven police apprehended Dong and charged him with illegal possession of an assault weapon, illegal transport of an assault weapon, breach of peace and illegal possession of a firearm in a car. He was being held in West Haven on $500,000 bond.
“We all have a debt of gratitude to the woman in West Haven,” MacNamara said, referring to the woman who reported seeing Dong with guns on campus.
Once West Haven police determined that Dong was from Fairfield, officers were dispatched to his house on Stratfield Road to secure the scene, which MacNamara called “significant but calm." An FBI interpreter was called to translate for his family.
While working with West Haven police, officers found what MacNamara described as a “disturbing” collection of article clippings about mass shootings around the country, including some about the deadly 2012 shooting in Aurora, Colo.
“He clearly collected articles on mass shootings,” MacNamara said. Along with the articles, more ammunition was also found in the house. The handguns and the assault weapon found in Dong's possession in West Haven on Tuesday were the only weapons found, he said.
It's unclear what Dong's intentions were on Tuesday, MacNamara said. But the investigation found no one else was involved in the situation other than Dong, he said.
A search for Dong on Facebook found that one of his photos was of Heath Ledger as the Joker in "The Dark Knight," which James Holmes dressed as during the Aurora theater shooting.
“We are furthering our investigation to determine what activity he may have been involved in, in the town of Fairfield,” MacNamara said.
Dong was issued a permit to carry a gun from Fairfield in April, police Sgt. Sue Lussier said. The permit allows him to legally own and carry guns in the state of Connecticut within the confines of the law.
Further charges could be filed against Dong, said MacNamara. But at this point in the investigation, he said he was not certain what those charges could be.