Police in Richmond, Va., said a tip from a “hero citizen” helped prevent two illegal immigrants from carrying out a planned shooting at a Fourth of July celebration.
“A hero citizen picked up the phone and overheard a conversation there was a mass shooting being planned here in the city of Richmond, Virginia,” Richmond Chief of Police Gerald Smith said during a press conference on Wednesday.
Police said they found evidence that Julio Alvarado-Dubon, 52, and Rolman Balacarcel, 38, were planning an attack at the city’s Independence Day celebration at the Dogwood Deli amphitheater and a city baseball game.
After the citizen called in the tip on July 1, police investigated the suspects’ residence and saw “evidence in plain view” to corroborate the tip. Officers seized two semi-automatic rifles, a handgun and 223 rounds of ammunition from the home.
Officers arrested Alvarado-Dubon and charged him with being a non-U.S. citizen in posession of a firearm on Friday. Balacarcel, who is Alvarado-Dubon’s roommate, was arrested and charged on the same count on Tuesday after a weekend of police surveillance.
The pair is being held without bond. Both suspects may face additional charges, police said.
Police did not identify a motive for the foiled attack.
“One phone call saved numerous lives on the Fourth of July,” Smith said on Wednesday. “The success of this particular investigation can only be juxtaposed against the horrors of which the rest of the country has seen. There is no telling how many lives this hero citizen has saved from one phone call.”
The news conference comes days after a gunman opened fire at an Independence Day parade in Highland Park, Ill., killing seven people and injuring dozens of others.
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story said police seized two assault rifles and 223 rounds of ammunition from the suspects’ home. Police have since clarified that two semi-automatic rifles and more than 200 rounds of ammunition were seized.