'Hero citizen' helps Virginia cops save lives and prevent another Fourth of July mass shooting

Police officials seized two assault rifles, one handgun, and 223 rounds of ammunition after receiving a tip about an alleged planned mass shooting


                            'Hero citizen' helps Virginia cops save lives and prevent another Fourth of July mass shooting
Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith informed about the mass shooting that was allegedly planned to take place on the Fourth of July in Virginia (ABC News Live)
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In a heroic move by a Chicago citizen, Virginia police successfully saved hundreds of lives by one call that helped them to prevent a mass shooting allegedly planned at a Fourth of July celebration event in Richmond, Virginia. Addressing reporters on July 6, Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith said, “There is no telling how many lives this hero citizen saved from one phone call."

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Narrating the details of the call, according to Associated Press, the chief said, "The citizen overheard a conversation indicating there was an attack being planned on an Independence Day celebration in the capital city and called police to report it. The caller said the attack was planned for the Dogwood Dell Amphitheater, where an annual fireworks show is held." He further added that police initiated an investigation to stop the mass shooting along with the US Department of Homeland Security and the FBI, which led to the arrests of two men on July 1 on the charges of being non-US citizens in possession of a firearm.

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Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney said that “our officers quietly investigated and collaborated to stop what could have been a terrible day for the city of Richmond. No community is immune from mass shootings." To which, chief Gerald added, "The Diamond was another possible target."

Who are the two suspects?

The suspects have been identified as Julio Alvardo-Dubon, 52, and Rolman Balacarcel, 38, who have been charged with possession of a firearm as a non-US citizen. The assault rifles, a handgun, and 223 rounds of ammunition were seized after the raid at their home on Columbia Street.

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Suspects Rolman Balacarcel (R) and Julio Alvardo-Dubon (L) (Richmond Police Department)

Police spokesperson Tracy Walker said that both men are from Guatemala. Initial documents filed in General District Court in Richmond say the duo are not in the US legally. The documents, which say Alvarado-Dubon has an expired visa, did not include any details about the alleged plot. Court documents note that the bond was set at $15K for Alvarado-Dubon on July 3. It read that he has lived in the Richmond area for three years and works full time in the construction industry. He has a preliminary hearing scheduled in Richmond on August 2. 

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Talking about the supply of guns, Mayor Levar said that the federal government needed to help to cut down the flow of guns. “Whether you’re at home in your cul-de-sac, or in your neighborhood, or in a park, or at a parade, out dining — you have to keep your head on a swivel. And that’s not the country that I know I desire to live in … but those are the facts of the matter at this moment.”

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