Virginia authorities say a tipster who called to report what they believed may be a planned mass shooting helped prevent what police say could have been a tragedy.
According to Richmond Police, a concerned citizen called on Friday to report a conversation they had overheard that they believed may be related to a planned mass shooting. Authorities began surveilling two suspects and arrested one of the men, 52-year old Julio Alvarado-Dubon, at a residence in Richmond, after what investigators say was evidence “in plain view” that corroborated the caller’s tips.
The police continued surveillance on the second man, Rolman A. Balacarcel, 38, for the remainder of the holiday weekend, waiting for probable cause to arrest him. He was apprehended and taken into custody on Tuesday. Both men are charged with being noncitizens in possession of firearms. Authorities seized two assault rifles, a handgun and 223 rounds of ammunition at the residence on Columbia Avenue.
The thwarted shooting was believed to have taken place during a July 4 celebration at the Dogwood Dell Amphitheater, an outdoor venue that seats 2,400 people. “There is no telling how many lives this hero citizen saved with this one phone call,” said Police Chief Gerald M. Smith at a press conference.
Court documents reveal local authorities working at the Dogwood Dell event may not have known about the potential shooting threat at the amphitheater on Monday. The two men have not been charged with making any threats or any other charges related to a planned shooting.
“They were planning to actually shoot up our Fourth of July celebration,” the chief said. “We know what their intent is, but we don’t have their motive.”
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: THE GUARDIAN
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