Tip from “hero citizen” thwarted July 4 mass shooting in Virginia’s capital, police say


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.

A “hero citizen” overheard a conversation indicating there was an attack being planned on the city’s popular Independence Day celebration and called police to report it, Police Chief Gerald Smith said at a news conference.

Police initiated an investigation, along with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and FBI, which led to the arrests of two men on charges of being a non-U.S. citizen in possession of a firearm. Additional charges are possible, Smith said.

Officers seized two assault rifles, a handgun and hundreds of rounds of ammunition from a residence where the firearms and “related material” were in plain view, Smith said.

The two men were being held without bond at a local jail, the chief said.

The apparent thwarted plot was planned for the same day that a gunman opened fire from a rooftop during a Fourth of July parade in the affluent Chicago suburb of Highland Park, killing seven people and injuring more than three dozen.

Robert E. Crimo III was charged with seven counts of murder Tuesday. The shooting sent hundreds of people fleeing in fear and set off an hourslong manhunt. Authorities have not yet identified a motive in that shooting.

Law enforcement members pick up items left behind by parade goers including an American flag along Central Avenue on July 5, 2022, the day after a mass shooting at the Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois.

Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

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