Shooting threat ‘just a joke:’ mother of arrested Taiwanese student

The mother (Di Ying, left) of a Taiwanese student (An Tso Sun, right) arrested in the United States Tuesday for threatening to shoot up his school said Thursday that the attack threat was "just a joke." (Image taken from Facebook via NOWnews, 2018.3.29)

Taipei, March 29 (CNA) The mother of a Taiwanese student arrested in the United States Tuesday for threatening to shoot up his school said Thursday that the attack threat was “just a joke.”

Di Ying (狄鶯), a TV and Taiwanese opera actress, told SET News that a prop gun found by U.S. police in the room of her son, An Tso Sun (孫安佐), was brought by Sun from Taiwan to the U.S. to be used for a Halloween costume party.

According to Di, the alleged threat by Sun to open fire at the school was either a joke or a language misunderstanding. Di, who is currently in Taiwan, said she has hired a lawyer to represent her son.

Sun, 18, the only child of Di and actor Sun Peng (孫鵬), went to the U.S. last fall to attend Bonner and Prendergast Catholic High School in Pennsylvania, where he lived with a host family, according to Upper Darby Police Department.

He was arrested Tuesday at the school, after which the police found many suspicious items in his bedroom, including a ballistic vest, a crossbow with scope and light, 20 rounds of 9mm ammunition, a military ski mask, an ammunition clip loader, a strangulation apparatus known as a garrote and other equipment.

The police also discovered that Sun had searched for information on how to buy an AK-47 assault rifle or an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle.

“When you add it all together, we believe that he was planning something horrible,” Upper Darby Police Department Superintendent Michael Chitwood said at a news conference Wednesday.

Sun was charged with one misdemeanor count of making terrorist threats and is being held at the Delaware County prison, according to http://www.Philly.com/News.

He will undergo a psychiatric evaluation and a court hearing has been set for April 11.

Sun’s arrest came after he allegedly warned a male classmate Monday not to go to school on May 1 as he was planning to go on a shooting spree that day, according to U.S. media, which said the classmate later reported it to a school social worker and the school notified the local police, leading to Sun’s arrest.

Sun told police that he was joking about the threat.

Meanwhile, it was reported that Di will head for the U.S. Friday to try to help her son.

According to the Apple Daily newspaper, Di said her son has always wanted to build a law enforcement career like that of Henry Chang-Yu Lee (李昌鈺), and has applied to major in criminal justice at a U.S. university, starting in August this year. “My husband and I are not able to reach our son and I’ll go to the U.S. to help him tomorrow,” Di was quoted as saying.

Comparing the recovered items in a photo released by U.S. police with those that appear in photos posted by Sun and Di on their Facebook pages, they appear similar.

As of Thursday noon, neither Di nor Sun Peng had been able to be reached by CNA for comment.

(By Flor Wang, Sunrise Huang and Chiang Pei-ling)