Police in Richmond, Virginia, said Wednesday they thwarted a potentially devastating mass shooting during the city’s July 4 celebrations, the same day a man killed seven people at a separate parade in Highland Park, Illinois. .
Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith said police were informed by a member of the public who overheard a conversation on a plan to attack Dogwood Dell, where thousands of people gathered for concerts and fireworks over the US Independence Day holiday. had gathered.
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The call led police to a residence on July 1, where they found one of two men potentially involved, carrying two assault rifles, a handgun, multiple ammunition clips and 223 rounds of ammunition.
The man, identified as a non-US citizen, Julio Alvardo-Duban, 52, was arrested on firearms charges.
The second suspect, 38-year-old Rollman Balacarcel, was tracked down and eventually arrested on July 5 on the same charge.
“They intended to do a mass shooting at our 4th of July celebration,” Smith told reporters.
He said the authorities were yet to know the motive behind the alleged planned attack.
Smith praised the unidentified man who informed police in Richmond, about 95 miles (153 kilometers) from the US capital Washington.
“Nobody can tell how many lives this hero citizen saved with one phone call,” Smith said.
Meanwhile, the community of Highland Park remained embroiled in Monday’s shootings that left 30 wounded in addition to seven killed by a gunman with a high-powered AR-15-style assault rifle.
Authorities said 21-year-old Robert Cremo had confessed to the crime and told law enforcement he had considered conducting a second attack in a different city while he was on the run before his arrest.
Read more: Two police officers injured during Fourth of July celebration in Philadelphia