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VA's Capital Dodged Planned July 4 Shooting Thanks To Citizen Tip

Police in Richmond, Virginia, said Wednesday that they thwarted a planned July 4 mass shooting after receiving a tip that led to the arrest of two men and the seizure of multiple guns — an announcement that came just two days after a deadly mass shooting on the holiday in a Chicago suburb, the Associated Press reports. A citizen overheard a conversation indicating there was an attack being planned on an Independence Day celebration in the city's capital and called police to report it, Police Chief Gerald Smith said. The attack was planned for the Dogwood Dell Amphitheater, where an annual fireworks show is held. “One phone call saved numerous lives on the Fourth of July,” Smith said. Police initiated an investigation along with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the FBI, which led to the arrests of two men on charges of being non-U.S. citizens in possession of a firearm, with possible additional charges.


Julio Alvarado-Dubon, 52, was arrested on July 1, the same day police received the tip, Smith said. He said police put a second suspect, Rolman Alberto Balacarcel, 38, under surveillance beginning that day, but did not initially have probable cause to arrest him. He was arrested Tuesday and was being held in a local jail. Initial documents say both Alvarado-Dubon and Balacarcel are not in the U.S. legally - both men are from Guatemala. The documents, which say Alvarado-Dubon has an expired visa, did not include any details about the alleged plot. Smith said the two men lived together at a Richmond house, where officers seized two assault rifles, a handgun and hundreds of rounds of ammunition that were in plain view. He said police have not determined a motive for the planned attack.