You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

'Hero' tipster foiled planned July 4 shooting in Richmond, Va., police say

NBC News logo NBC News 7/7/2022 Phil Helsel

A tipster who officials are calling a "hero" may have prevented a mass shooting at a July 4 event in Richmond, Virginia.

The caller told police that they overheard plans for a mass shooting at a holiday celebration at the city's Dogwood Dell Amphitheater. That tip led to the arrests of two men who police said were found with assault rifles, a handgun and 223 rounds of ammunition, law enforcement officials said Wednesday.

“One phone call saved numerous lives on the Fourth of July,” Police Chief Gerald M. Smith said at a news conference.

Julio Alvardo-Dubon, 52, and Rolman A. Balacarcel, 38, were both arrested on a charge of non-U.S. citizen in possession of a firearm, police said.

Police believe that the men, who are roommates, were planning a mass shooting at the amphitheater that seats around 2,400 in the city’s Byrd Park. A motive is not known.

Image: Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith during a news conference on July 6, 2022, in Richmond, Va. where police said they thwarted a planned July 4 mass shooting after receiving a tip that led to arrests and the seizure of multiple guns. (Steve Helber / AP) © Provided by NBC News Image: Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith during a news conference on July 6, 2022, in Richmond, Va. where police said they thwarted a planned July 4 mass shooting after receiving a tip that led to arrests and the seizure of multiple guns. (Steve Helber / AP)

Both men were being held in jail Wednesday, police said. An attorney listed as representing Alvardo-Dubon could not be reached Wednesday night. It was not clear if Balacarcel had an attorney.

Smith said that when officers entered the roommates' home Friday, they found weapons and "firearms-related material that was in plain view."

A police spokesperson said that the men are from Guatemala, and initial court documents say Alvardo-Dubon and Balacarcel are not in the U.S. legally and that Alvardo-Dubon's visa is expired, The Associated Press reported.

The announcement of the arrests and the alleged plot comes days after a gunman opened fire on a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois, killing seven people and wounding others.

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney said that police acted “to stop what could have been a terrible day for the city of Richmond,” and he thanked the person who called the information in.

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin tweeted that the person who notified police was a hero who stopped a "potential massacre."

Police said that the investigation remains ongoing and the Department of Homeland Security is involved. The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will trace the guns, Smith said.

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from NBC News

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon