Men Behind 'Potential Massacre' in Virginia Were Illegal Immigrants

Via Richmond Police Twitter
July 7, 2022

Two men arrested for plotting a mass shooting at a Fourth of July fireworks show in Richmond, Va., were illegal immigrants.

Police arrested the men earlier this month following an anonymous tip that the two were planning an attack at the Dogwood Dell Amphitheater. During the arrests, Richmond police seized two assault-style rifles, one handgun, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.

Both men were charged with possession of firearms by non-U.S. citizens, according to court records. A Richmond police spokeswoman said at a press conference that the two suspects are from Guatemala. 

The incident is the second high-profile crime by illegal immigrants in recent weeks. Two illegal immigrants were arrested in Texas for their alleged role in the deaths of more than 50 migrants left in a semi-trailer. 

The weapons possessed by the Virginia suspects also raises questions about how gun control laws could prevent such attacks in the future. Both men were not allowed to purchase any firearms under federal law. Richmond authorities said they are working with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to trace where the suspects' weapons and ammunition came from.

The two suspects were roommates in the Richmond area. At least one of the men was living in the United States on an expired visa, and the Associated Press reported that court filings show both are living in the United States illegally. 

The motivation behind the attack is unknown. Police say there is no reason to believe there was any connection to previous mass shootings. At least one man was offered $15,000 bail. 

"We know their intent. Their intent was to conduct a mass shooting at our Fourth of July celebration," Richmond police chief Gerald Smith said at the press conference.

The amphitheater targeted in the alleged plot seats more than 2,000 people. Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R., Va.) called the anonymous tipster a "hero" who helped prevent a "potential massacre."