newstwo arrested in richmond in connection with plot to shoot up city fourth of july event

Two arrested in Richmond in connection with plot to shoot up city Fourth of July events

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Two men have been arrested in connection with an apparent planned mass shooting at a Richmond community Fourth of July celebration.

Julio Alvardo-Dubon, 52, and Rolman A. Balacarcel, 38, have been charged with being non-U.S. citizens in possession of a firearm, according to Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith.

Smith said Wednesday that the Richmond PD had received a tip late last week from someone who reported overhearing a conversation regarding the mass shooting plans.

Police seized two assault rifles and more than 200 rounds of ammunition from an apartment in the 1000 block of Columbia Avenue.

“Their intent was to conduct a mass shooting,” Richmond Police Chief Gerald M. Smith said at a Wednesday afternoon press conference.

The plot targeted the Dogwood Dell Ampitheater, the site of the city’s annual Fourth of July fireworks show, the chief said.

Smith said investigators also had concerns that the shooters may have also wanted to target The Diamond, which was playing host to a minor league baseball game between the Richmond Flying Squirrels and Reading Fightin Phils on Monday evening.

“One phone call saved numerous lives on the Fourth of July,” said Smith, who called the person who called in the tip a “hero witness.”

This news comes as authorities in Highland Park, Ill., continue their investigation into a mass shooting at a community Fourth of July parade Monday morning that killed seven people and wounded two dozen more.

The suspected shooter, Robert E. Crimo III, 21, has reportedly confessed to the shooting. Eighty-three bullet casings have been recovered from the crime scene, according to prosecutor Ben Dillon.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris has won 17 Virginia Press Association awards for his work as an investigative reporter, feature writer and columnist. Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, both published in 2019, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to my YouTube page, Want to reach Chris? Try [email protected].