Richmond police say they thwarted an alleged plot for a mass shooting in Virginia meant to occur on the Fourth of July, after receiving a tip from a “hero citizen.”
Police Chief Gerald Smith said Wednesday the tip led to the arrest of two men and the seizure of two assault rifles, a handgun and 223 rounds of ammunition.
The announcement came two days after a sniper killed seven people and injured more than 40 others at an Independence Day parade in Highland Park, a Chicago suburb.
Tracy Walker, a spokesperson for the police, said that both of the men indicted in Virginia are from Guatemala. The Associated Press reported. Smith reported that the suspects were being held without bail on charges they possess weapons while in the country illegally.
The weapons were discovered by officers at a Richmond house where the men lived together, according to authorities.
“l want to thank and applaud the hero in Virginia that stopped a potential massacre by alerting our brave Richmond Police Department Officers that work tirelessly every day to protect our communities,” Gov. Glenn Youngkin tweeted the following. “It’s a great reminder that if you see something, say something to your local PD.”
Smith said that “hero citizen”Overheard a conversation that indicated there was an attack on the city’s Independence Day celebration, Smith called police. Smith said he didn’t know where the alleged conversation occurred, but the tipster said the Dogwood Dell Amphitheater, where an annual fireworks show is held, was mentioned.
Smith stated that the FBI and Department of Homeland Security were involved in the arrests.
The Independence Day holiday weekend was marred by shootings reported in nearly every state that killed at least 220 people and wounded nearly 570 others, according to the Gun Violence Archive database.