The Richmond Police Department is crediting a “hero citizen” for a tip that prevented a mass shooting officials say was set to take place at a Fourth of July celebration in the Virginia capital.
Police in a July 6 press conference said they received a tip July 1 about a plan for a mass shooting at Dogwood Dell’s July 4th event. Police Chief Gerald Smith said the tip led investigators to arrest Julio Alvardo-Dubon, 52, the same day they received the information. Upon arresting Alvardo-Dubon, police said they also seized two assault rifles, a handgun and 223 rounds of ammunition.
Dogwood Dell is an amphitheater with 2,400 seats that is located in Richmond’s Byrd Park.
Following further investigation, Alvardo-Dubon’s roommate, Rolman Balacarcel, 38, was later arrested on July 5 in connection with the planned shooting, police said. Both suspects were charged with being a non-US citizen in possession of a firearm.
“Public safety is not a responsibility of the police department. It is a responsibility for us all,” Smith said during the press conference. “There is no telling how many lives this here citizen saved from one phone call.”
The news of the planned shooting comes following a mass shooting in Highland Park, Illinois, that took place July 4 and left seven people dead and 47 injured. An additional three people were killed in a mass shooting at a Fourth of July party in Gary, Indiana, during a block party. Seven people were also injured at the party.
The shootings on the patriotic holiday came just over a month after a gunman killed 21 people at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, including 19 young students and two teachers.
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