Two men who were allegedly plotting a mass shooting in Virginia are in the state illegally, with one of the men having been deported several times, according to authorities.
Richmond Chief of Police Gerald Smith said during a press conference Wednesday that “a hero citizen picked up the phone and overheard a conversation there was a mass shooting being planned here in the city of Richmond, Virginia,” according to NBC 12.
“There’s no telling how many lives this citizen hero saved from one phone call,” Smith said. “One phone call saved numerous lives on the Fourth of July.”
“We know what their intent was but we don’t have a motive,” he added. (RELATED: Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney Says He Wants Out Of His Job After Police Officers Get Shot During July 4 Celebration)
Authorities arrested 52-year-old Julio Alvarado-Dubon and 38-year-old Roman Balacarcel, who allegedly planned to shoot up Richmond’s Fourth of July celebration. Both men were charged with being non-citizens in possession of a gun. Smith said the men are roommates.
Alvarado-Dubon had two rifles, a handgun and 200 rounds of ammunition and was arrested July 1. Balacarcel was surveilled by authorities and arrested Tuesday with the same charges.
Smith said it was “frustrating” that one of the men had been deported several times and was able to re-enter the country.