‘Hero citizen’ tipped off police to potential July 4th shooting in Richmond, Virginia

Police averted a potential mass shooting planned for a July 4th celebration in Richmond, officials said Wednesday.

A “hero citizen” tipped off police after overhearing a conversation about a mass shooting in the works, Chief of Police Gerald Smith said in a press conference.

Officials arrested two men and confiscated two assault rifles, one handgun and 223 rounds of ammunition. Both are being held in jail without bond. The Richmond Police worked with Homeland Security and the FBI to investigate the case.

“Their intent was to conduct a mass shooting at our Fourth of July celebration,” Smith said. “We don’t know what their motive was.”

The attack had been planned for July 4, the same day a mass shooting occurred at a parade in Highland Park, Illinois, killing seven people and injuring dozens of others.Gun violence has garnered increased attention in recent months after massacres including one at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, and another at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, in May.

While President Joe Biden signed a bipartisan gun-safety bill into law in late June, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney at the press conference called on Congress to pass stronger measures.

“I appreciate what the federal government has done, but I’m telling you right now, we need more.”

(Reporting by Emma Kinery, with assistance from Megan Howard.)


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