(Reuters) - A Taiwanese exchange student who already pleaded guilty in state court to making shooting threats against the Catholic high school he was attending in Pennsylvania has now been hit with federal firearms charges, U.S. prosecutors said on Wednesday.
An-Tso “Edward” Sun, 18, was charged in a federal criminal complaint issued on Tuesday with possessing ammunition while in the United States on a nonimmigrant visa, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement.
Sun was sentenced earlier this week to between four and 23 months in jail followed by deportation after pleading guilty in Delaware County District court to making terroristic threats.
He faces a maximum of 10 years in prison if convicted on the federal charges.
An attorney for Sun could not be reached for comment by Reuters on Wednesday afternoon.
Prosecutors say Sun, a Taiwanese national who was living with an American host family while studying at a high school in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, told another student in March that he should stay home on May 1 because “I’m going to come here armed and shoot up the school. Just kidding.”
Sun’s classmate, who has not been identified by authorities, reported the remark to school officials, who notified the Upper Darby Police Department.
Investigators recovered a semiautomatic pistol, more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition, a crossbow and ballistic suit from Sun’s bedroom and a duffel bag of his belongings given by his host mother to an attorney she retained for him.
“Thanks to the tremendous work of our local, state, and federal partners, a potential school tragedy was prevented,” Marlon Miller, special agent in charge of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations Philadelphia Field Office.
Reporting by Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Editing by Leslie Adler