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Va. officers thwart potential mass shooting at church

Rui Jiang was armed with a loaded gun when he was arrested just minutes after churchgoers entered the building, according to police


Fairfax County Police Department

By Sarah Roebuck

HAYMARKET, Va. — Officers from two police departments worked together to thwart a potential mass shooting at a church, a release from the Fairfax County Police Department states.

Rui Jiang, 35, was armed with a loaded gun and extra ammunition when he was arrested just minutes after churchgoers entered the building on Sunday, according to police.

“This was a thwarted diabolical plot to kill churchgoers in Haymarket, Virginia — and local law enforcement stopped it,” Chief Kevin Davis of the Fairfax County Police Department told NBC Washington.

Authorities stated the potential massacre was averted due to an individual who alerted the police after spotting disturbing posts on Instagram. Multiple posts depicted Jiang aiming a firearm at church images, according to police.

Following the report regarding Jiang’s social media posts, officers received a request to conduct a welfare check at 9:22 a.m.

Officers determined Jiang was not home and based on the Instagram posts, it was believed he was at the Park Valley Church in Haymarket.

At 10 a.m., officers with the Prince William County Police Department immediately responded to the area of the church to search for Jiang.

At 10:12 a.m., Jiang arrived and entered the church through a side door, PWC police said. Jiang did not realize church service had already started when he entered the building. His suspicious behavior was noted by staff at the church. He was then taken into custody.

Hours later, police searched Jiang’s house. Davis told NBC Washington that they found a “kill manifesto.” Davis added that Jiang said he didn’t know anyone at the church.

Jiang is charged with making threats and bringing a weapon to a church. He is held without bond.