(TheIndependentStar.com) – Police detectives in Northern Virginia arrested a man and prevented what could have been a disastrous mass shooting at a church just moments before the gunman was going to attack.
Rui Jiang, 35, was moments away from initiating the violent attack at Park Valley Church in Haymarket, a Northern Virginia town with a population of around 1,500, as per NBC4 Washington.
Jiang was apprehended carrying a loaded weapon and additional ammunition, with intentions clearly to cause harm, according to police officials.
Chief Kevin Davis of the Fairfax County Police Department briefed the media, saying, “This was a thwarted diabolical plot to kill churchgoers in Haymarket, Virginia … and local law enforcement stopped it.” He emphasized how close the incident was to becoming a tragedy, noting, “Minutes. Minutes. The congregation was making their way into the church. He was in the vestibule of the church about to enter. So, minutes or seconds away.”
Chief Davis revealed that a vigilant woman noticed “troubling” Instagram posts showing Jiang aiming firearms at church images, which led to the prevention of the probable mass shooting.
“What she saw concerned her enough to call the Anne Arundel [County, Maryland] Police Department and say, ‘Hey, I think something really bad is going to happen,’” Davis conveyed. In the photos, captions by Jiang read, “Blood will be on your hands” and “No women will be harmed.”
Further information shared by the police chief stated that Jiang was surveying the church earlier that Sunday morning.
According to the released charging documents, the police first approached Jiang’s residence. He was apprehended shortly after 10 a.m. Sunday, armed with a semi-automatic pistol, an additional magazine, and a knife.
A subsequent search of his residence led to the discovery of a concerning manifesto detailing his planned mass shooting.
Davis commented, “[Officers] found a kill manifesto, the likes of which I’ve never read. But he also articulated that he didn’t know anyone at that church. He articulated that his would-be victims, and he put it out there … He knew he was going to take many lives yesterday, and he also said, ‘I don’t know any of them.’”
Senior Pastor Barry White expressed his gratitude for the protection of his congregation, saying, “We’ve just been thanking God. You know, God’s been so good to us, and he protected us.”