The mayor of Richmond, Virginia, is grateful to an engaged citizen and law enforcement officers who foiled an alleged July 4 mass shooting plot in the city.
“It began with a tip… Some of our residents took heed and actually did what we asked them to do. And that is, when you see something, say something,” Mayor Levar Stoney told GMA3.
“A resident called in a tip saying that there were two individuals who were plotting a mass shooting on the Fourth of July,” said Stoney, who said police officers were dispatched to the home of the two individuals, who were roommates. “[Officers] saw these weapons of war laid out right in front of them, two AR-15 -- two assault rifles and several hundred bullets available for mass chaos and mass casualties.”
Stoney called the tipster a “hero,” in the wake of the recent tragedies in Uvalde, Texas; Buffalo, N.Y., and most recently in Highland Park, Illinois.
On May 14, 10 Black people were killed in a mass shooting at a Buffalo, N.Y., supermarket. The suspect, a white 18-year-old man, is charged with "domestic terrorism" in connection with the crime, which authorities said was racially motivated. Ten days later, on May 24, 19 schoolchildren and two teachers were killed in a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. The suspect was shot and killed by a Customs and Border Protection tactical team.
On July 4, a gunman opened fire and killed seven, wounding at least 38 others, during an Independence Day celebration in Highland Park, a suburb of Chicago. A 21-year-old man has been charged with first-degree murder in the shootings. An attorney for the suspect in the Highland Park shooting said he intends to enter a not guilty plea to all charges, according to the Associated Press.
Several July 4 events were planned in Richmond, including a concert at the Dogwood Dell amphitheater, which holds 2,400 people.
Stoney thanked the Richmond Police Department.
“I’m grateful for the Richmond Police Department as well for doing their due diligence, tracking down these individuals to their home, putting heavy surveillance on one of them up into July 5 and avoiding any sort of mass casualties and chaos in our community,” said Stoney.
Two suspects have been arrested, according to authorities. One suspect has been charged with possession of a firearm by a non-U.S. citizen. Stoney said he does not know how the suspects were able to obtain the weapons, but said it is “far too easy to access weapons of war in this country.”
Both suspects in Richmond have not yet entered pleas.
“I was at the White House yesterday to applaud the White House, President Biden and Congress for the work they did to get this recent gun legislation passed. The first step we've taken in 30 years,” said Stoney. “However, I’m here to say as a city mayor that we need to do more.”
Mayor describes how city averted an alleged July 4 shooting originally appeared on abcnews.go.com