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Gun shop owner helps prevent SU mass shooting

Gun shop owner helps prevent SU mass shooting

Syracuse University may have just avoided becoming another campus targeted in a mass shooting.

"It feels very surreal. You see this happen in today’s climate and never think it will happen to you personally," Lauren Chiardio, an SU student, said.

Evidence that a student from China was planning a mass shooting surfaced while he was in Mexico on spring break.

That's when police found ammunition and gun accessories in his Creekwalk Commons apartment near campus.

Students only learned about it Thursday, after media reports surfaced.

"That's what concerns me," Chiardio said, "I don't know if we would have been told about it and the university isn't really telling us much."

In a statement, the school's chief law enforcement officer, Tony Callisto, said: "Because of the nature of this case, Syracuse University honored the request of law enforcement to maintain confidentiality while the investigation was underway to prevent jeopardizing the outcome."

John Laubscher, a Madison County gun shop owner, is being credited with refusing to sell the suspect a weapon.

"We've had more than one incident like this that we've called on that you have to say no, and it's not worth making a sale," he said.

Laubscher recalls the student coming in to ask for an assault rifle to hunt with, but Laubscher was 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 said.

The student claimed the school had a class to teach him how to use the gun, but Laubscher knew that wasn't the case, so he called the police.

"We've had parents call and email us and tell us how grateful they are that we were successful in preventing something that could've possibly happened," Laubscher said.

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