RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC)– The reality that both Dogwood Dell and The Diamond could have been potential targets for a mass shooting on the Fourth of July is inspiring fear in Richmond residents.
The Richmond Police Department confirmed that almost 10,000 people filled the seats at The Diamond baseball stadium on July 4. The idea of a massacre happening in such a packed area, is one that has brought terror to those who attended Independence Day festivities around Richmond.
Shari Wiltshire said she and her family attended the fireworks show at Dogwood Dell on Monday night and had a good time. But even though nothing happened, Wiltshire said the potential for a massacre so close to home is an example of how “this energy, this negative energy is spreading across the nation, and spreading quickly.”
“It’s sad. It’s terrifying,” Wiltshire said.
Wiltshire’s family had been discussing safety measures after seeing the Highland Park, Illinois mass shooting – not knowing anything about the similar nefarious plot being hatched near her.
“I remember specifically standing there with my husband saying what is our exit plan?” Wiltshire said.
Zachary Masri attended a baseball game at the Diamond Wednesday night, just two days after when the shooting was planned, and is disappointed in the fact that this even a conversation.
“It hurts. It hurts,” Masri said.
On Monday night, Masri said he was enjoying a private cookout with friends, and is glad that the attempt at a massacre was thwarted. But he added that, ” it’s clear that we have tragedy waiting in the wings.”
Wiltshire said she was glad no one was hurt, or worse, but thinks there needs to be real change in America -starting with the gun laws currently in place.
“Why are we giving a small few, a fraction, the ability, the space to harm and hurt us continuously over and over again,” Wiltshire said. “What’s better for the greater good?”
Both Masri and Wiltshire said it’s urgent for lawmakers to address gun laws in America, and are asking the question: ‘when is enough, enough.’
Two non-U.S. citizens were arrested by police as the suspects connected to the Richmond mass shooting plot thanks to an anonymous tip ahead of July 4. 8News is told two AR-15 rifles, a 9-millimeter handgun and over 200 bullets were seized from the home the two men lived at.