RICHMOND, Va. (TCD) -- Police say a "hero citizen" helped stop what could have potentially been a mass shooting at the city's July 4 celebration.
On Wednesday, July 6, Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith spoke at a press conference about a tip officers received, a swift investigation that followed, and the arrest of two individuals. Smith said an individual, who he referred to as "a hero citizen," reportedly overheard a conversation July 1 about a planned shooting at Richmond's Dogwood Dell, which is a public amphitheater that puts on plays, concerts, and other shows. The citizen called Richmond Police and reported it to officers from the Second Precinct.
According to Smith, police began investigating a residence on the 1000 block of Columbia Avenue alongside Homeland Security and the police department's special investigations team. When detectives made their way inside the residence, they reportedly "saw evidence in plain view that corroborated the hero citizen’s statement that there was a concern."
Investigators reportedly seized two assault rifles, one handgun, and 223 rounds of ammunition. Julio Alvardo was taken into custody for being a non-U.S. citizen in possession of a firearm.
Smith said investigators began surveilling a second suspect throughout the holiday weekend. They eventually arrested Rolman Balacarcel on the same charges as Alvardo.
The FBI also assisted in the investigation. Both men were booked in the Richmond City Jail without bond.
Smith noted, "There is no telling how many lives this hero citizen saved by this one phone call."