Officials believe that a tipter, whom they call a "hero," may have stopped a mass shooting at Richmond's July Fourth celebration.
The caller informed police that he had heard plans to attack a holiday party at Dogwood Dell Amphitheater. Police said that two men were arrested after the tip was received Wednesday. They were found with assault rifles and a handgun, along with 223 rounds ammunition.
At a news conference, Chief Gerald M. Smith, Police Officer, stated that "one phone call saved many lives on the Fourth Of July".
Police said that Julio Alvarado Dubon, 52, was arrested for being non-U.S. citizens and Rolman A. Balicarcel, 38.
Police believe the men were roommates and planned to attack the Byrd Park amphitheater, which has around 2,400 seats. The motive for the attack is unknown.
Police said that both men were in custody Wednesday. Wednesday night, an attorney listed as representing Alvarado Dubon was unavailable for comment. It wasn't clear if Balacarcel was represented by an attorney.
Smith stated that officers found weapons and other firearm-related material when they entered the home of their roommates Friday.
According to a police spokesperson, the men were from Guatemala. According to The Associated Press, initial court documents state that Alvarado Dubon and Balacarcel were not legally present in the U.S. and that Alvarado Dubon's visa has expired.
Two days after an armed gunman opened fire at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park (Illinois), killing seven people and injuring many more, authorities announced the arrests.
Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney stated that police intervened "to stop what could've been a terrible morning for the city," and thanked the person who called him.
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin tweeted, "The person who reported police was a hero that stopped a potential massacre."