Fairfield man charged in gun incident

Police say he caused lockdown at University of New Haven


William Dong

Newspaper clippings about mass shootings found inside the Fairfield home of a man arrested with guns on the campus of the University of New Haven were called “disturbing” by police Wednesday.

Fairfield Police Chief Gary MacNamara said William Dong collected newspaper clippings about mass shootings, including the massacre at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo. Dong was also reported to have posted on his Facebook page a photo of the Joker character as played by the late actor Heath Ledger; a Joker costume based on that portrayal was worn by the Aurora gunman.

“I don’t know what it is,” MacNamara said Wednesday, but something bad was going to happen, either yesterday or in the future, if someone had not intervened,” MacNamara said.

Dong, taken into custody after West Haven police responded to reports about a man with a gun on the campus of the University of New Haven Tuesday, Dec. 3, has been charged with illegal possession of an assault weapon, illegal transport of an assault weapon, breach of peace and illegal possession of a weapon in a motor vehicle. Bond was set at $500,000 pending arraignment Wednesday at State Superior Court in Milford.

Friends posted on Facebook Tuesday night that the incident was a “misunderstanding” and “being blown out of proportion.”

The 20-year-old commuter student, a 2009 graduate of Fairfield Warde High School, has been suspended from UNH pending a hearing for violating the school’s ban on firearms on campus.

Police still don’t know what Dong’s intentions were, MacNamara said, when he parked his car in a ShopRite parking lot near UNH and walked onto campus with two handguns he was licensed to carry.

Initial callers reported a man carrying a rifle, and West Haven police reported finding a rifle and additional ammunition in a Toyota Rav4 they said Dong parked at the supermarket.

The University of New Haven Campus and surrounding schools went into lockdown as police searched for the reported gunman. When they found the car linked to Dong and traced its registration, they contacted Fairfield police. Officers responded to 1336 Stratfield Road, in part to check on the well-being of residents.

MacNamara said family members were safe and cooperative with officers at the house.

Fairfield police found what they believed was a rifle, but later determined it was a pellet gun, MacNamara said. They also found ammunition, but MacNamara could not say how much.

Dong was licensed to possess handguns, police in Fairfield said.

Fairfield police reported little interaction with Dong. In 2007, MacNamara said Dong and other juveniles were caught putting pennies on Metro-North tracks, but MacNamara said police found no indication it was an attempt to disrupt rail service.

West Haven police, State Police and federal law enforcement officers joined Fairfield police at Dong’s house when a search warrant was served Tuesday night.

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