'Hero' helped save 'numerous lives' with tip that thwarted planned July 4 mass shooting in Virginia

Posted at 2:34 PM, Jul 06, 2022

RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond, Virginia, Police Chief Gerald Smith credited a "hero citizen" for a tip that "saved numerous lives on the Fourth of July."

The July 1 tip involved a man or men "threatening to do a mass shooting on or about July 4," at the city's fireworks celebration at Dogwood Dell in Richmond.

Smith said officers were also focused on the Fourth of July celebration at the Diamond in Richmond.

"Their intent was to shoot up our July 4th celebration," Smith said.

Smith was unable to provide additional details nor a motive for the mass shooting.

The tip led police to Julio Alvardo and his home in Richmond.

"Detectives conducted surveillance at an address related to the suspect and observed activity," a police spokesperson said. "A knock and talk was conducted and the male was inside."

Police said a search of the home yielded two rifles, a handgun, and ammunition from the home.

"Unfortunately, the suspect did not have any weapons in his room and did not make incriminating statements," a police spokesperson wrote. "Homeland Security Investigations [HSI] was consulted about the weapons, and they advised the owner was prohibited from possessing any. He was taken to lock up and charged with Alien in possession of firearm."

A second suspect was kept under police surveillance throughout the holiday weekend and taken into custody on July 5.

This article was written by Scott Wise for WTVR.