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How a Planned July 4 Shooting in Richmond Got Foiled

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

The Highland Park mass shooting in Illinois took over the spotlight over the Fourth of July weekend. Robert Crimo III went onto a rooftop on July 4 and opened fire on paradegoers, killing seven people and wounding at least another 45. Crimo was arrested by police later that evening. 


Yet, this story revolves around Richmond, Virginia, where a good Samaritan foiled a mass shooting. I know the saying has been repeated ad nauseam in the post-9/11 era, but saying something did do something in this case. A tipster saved lives this weekend (via NBC News): 

A tipster whom officials are calling a "hero" may have prevented a mass shooting at a July Fourth event in Richmond, Virginia.

The caller told police about overhearing plans for a mass shooting at a holiday celebration at the city's Dogwood Dell Amphitheater. The tip led to the arrests of two men who police said were found with assault rifles, a handgun and 223 rounds of ammunition, law enforcement officials said Wednesday.

“One phone call saved numerous lives on the Fourth of July,” Police Chief Gerald M. Smith said at a news conference.

Julio Alvarado-Dubon, 52, and Rolman A. Balacarcel, 38, were arrested on charges of being non-U.S. citizens in possession of firearms, police said.

Police said they believe that the men, who are roommates, were planning a mass shooting at the amphitheater in Byrd Park, which seats around 2,400. A motive is not known.

We'll keep you updated, but there could have been two national tragedies this past weekend. One attempted mass shooting in Richmond was stopped by a good citizen. Highland Park was preventable given the past mental health issues exhibited by the shooter, which included him threatening to kill his family and attempting suicide in 2019. His father decided to co-sign a firearm owner identification card (FOID) after the suicide attempt and death threats, so Illinois police had nothing to review regarding the FOID card. 


There are enough laws on the books to stop these people. It's all about enforcement. 

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