Richmond, VA – The police chief said a tip from a “hero citizen” helped police thwart a planned mass shooting that “saved numerous lives on the Fourth of July” in the city of Richmond.
Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith said an alert citizen contacted police on July 1 after they overheard people “threatening to do a mass shooting on or about July 4,” at the Richmond Independent Day celebration in Dogwood Dell, WTVR reported.
Chief Smith said that up until that point, police had been more focused on security at the July 4th events planned for Diamond in Richmond.
Police immediately started an investigation based on the tip and looped in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), CBS News reported.
The investigation led authorities to Julio Alvardo and his home in Richmond, WTVR reported.
“Detectives conducted surveillance at an address related to the suspect and observed activity,” Richmond police said. “A knock and talk was conducted and the male was inside.”
Officer searched the home and found two rifles, a handgun, and ammunition, all of which were in plain sight.
“Unfortunately, the suspect did not have any weapons in his room, and did not make incriminating statements,” Richmond police said.
“Homeland Security Investigations [HSI] was consulted about the weapons, and they advised the owner was prohibited from possessing any,” police continued. “He was taken to lock up and charged with Alien in possession of firearm.”
Chief Smith said police kept a second suspect under surveillance throughout the holiday weekend and arrested him on July 5, WTVR reported.
He was arrested and also charged with being a non-U.S. citizen in possession of a firearm, WTVR reported.
The police chief said both men have been held without bond a local jail.
Chief Smith said additional charges were possible, according to WTVR.
The thwarted plot had been planned for July 4, the same day a gunman killed seven and wounded at least 35 more at the Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois, CBS News reported.