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Washington U confiscates two guns, including AR-15, suspends student

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Two guns, one of them an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, were confiscated from a fraternity member at Washington University, the school's leader said Tuesday evening.

Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton also said that the student has been temporarily suspended and "removed from campus pending formal adjudication." The university's policy bars weapons from campus. 

Wrighton said the AR-15 was found in a search of Phi Delta Theta fraternity house and a handgun was found in a vehicle parked in a nearby university garage. He said both guns belonged to the same student.

"There was no active threat; however, this put at risk members of our university community and is a very serious violation of university policy," the chancellor said in an email to the university community. "The guns have been confiscated."

Wrighton's email included a copy of the university's policy on guns that states: "The possession, storage or use of firearms, knives, ammunition and other dangerous weapons is prohibited on all University property. Employees are strictly prohibited from carrying concealed weapons on University property and may not store weapons or ammunition in vehicles located in University parking facilities. All such items are subject to confiscation." 

Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs Jill Friedman did not release more details about how administrators obtained information about the possibility of weapons on campus but said they were confiscated by staff members with the university's Campus Life Department. She said administrators had no reason to believe the student obtained the weapons illegally. 

The AR-15 rifle has been in the news lately in connection with mass shootings, including the one last week that left 17 students dead at a high school in Parkland, Fla.

Unrelated to the weapons confiscation, Phi Delta Theta was informed Tuesday afternoon that it was permanently suspended, Freidman said. All members of the fraternity were asked to vacate the house immediately. 

The fraternity was temporarily suspended last fall while the university's police department investigated allegations of hazing. Members were barred from hosting any organized activities, holding meetings or participating in fall rush until the university made a decision after the police investigation was finished.

Freidman said the suspension was made permanent "based on violations of a previous temporary suspension" but did not have more details. 

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Reporter covering St. Louis County politics. Born in Algeria but grew up in St. Louis. Previously reported for The Associated Press in Jackson, Mississippi, and at the Wichita Eagle in Wichita, Kansas.

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