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‘Citizen hero’ tip thwarted mass shooting planned for July 4th celebration in Richmond, Va., police say

The ‘hero’ tipster overheard a conversation that a mass shooting was planned for the celebration at the Dogwood Dell Amphitheater and reported that information to police on July 1, Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith said , during a press conference. The amphitheater can hold 2,400 people, according to the city’s website.

On the same day as the tip, police attended a residence in the 1000 block of Columbia Ave. where they found the weapons and ammunition. In total, police found two assault rifles, a handgun and 223 rounds in the home, Smith said.

A man was arrested on Friday and police placed a second person under surveillance, who was arrested on Tuesday, the chief said. Both suspects were charged with being non-citizens in possession of a firearm.

“They were actually planning to film our 4th of July celebration,” Smith said. “We know what their intention is but we don’t have their motive, we know they lived in the same place.”

Both men are being held without bail at the Richmond City Jail, Smith said.

“Our officers quietly investigated and worked with their law enforcement partners and the community to stop what could have been a terrible day for the City of Richmond,” Mayor Levar Stoney said. “As we continue to live through an era, an age, of mass shootings and across our country, no community is immune.”

‘Citizen hero’ tip thwarted mass shooting planned for July 4th celebration in Richmond, Va., police say

The US Department of Homeland Security and the FBI were also involved in the investigation, Smith said. Police did not give further details of the plans for the mass shooting, but reiterated the significance of the tip.

“It’s unclear how many lives this citizen hero saved with just one phone call,” Smith said. “Public safety is everyone’s responsibility. One phone call saved many lives on the 4th of July.”

The Richmond news comes just two days after a mass shooting left seven dead and dozens injured at an Independence Day parade in Highland Park, Illinois.
The carnage in Highland Park punctuates an already bloody American spring and summer – in the past 186 days, more than 300 mass shootings have taken place in the United States, according to data compiled by Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit organization profit that follows such incidents.


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