Police arrested a Bailey’s Crossroads man in the vestibule of a Haymarket church “minutes or seconds” before what could have been a mass shooting Sunday morning, according to Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis.
Rui Jiang, 35, of Falls Church, had a loaded semi-automatic pistol, an extra magazine of ammunition, and two knives at Park Valley Church when police caught up to him. At the time, people were going to a morning church service. Prince William County police said Jiang had a concealed carry permit.
Police also found a “kill manifesto,” in Jiang’s home, Davis told NBC4.
“He knew he was going to take many lives yesterday, and he also said, ‘I don’t know any of them,'” Davis said.
Here’s how the events went down.
The police said Jiang posted threatening messages on his Instagram account from the parking lot of the church somewhere between 3:20 a.m. and 6 a.m. “Several of the messages showed an image of Jiang pointing a firearm at pictures of churches,” a police news release said.
Those posts prompted someone in Laurel, Maryland, to call 911 in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, around 7:40 a.m. Anne Arundel County police determined Jiang lived in Fairfax County and had police there conduct a welfare check at 9:22 a.m. They did not find Jiang at his apartment in the 5600 block of Seminary Road.
Fairfax County police at 10 a.m. alerted Prince William County police to respond to the church. Prince William County police, according to a news release, called an off-duty Prince William County lieutenant, who happened to be working a detail assignment at the church. The officer found Jiang’s car empty. He and church security detained Jiang, who was decked out in sunglasses on a day when they were not needed, WTOP reported. They took Jiang into custody at 10:12 a.m.
A search of Jiang’s home then turned up the troubling manifesto “the likes of which I’ve never read,” Davis said.
Fairfax County police released this graphic of the timeline, in a news release.
The Prince William County police said no one sustained any injuries as they arrested Jiang.
Pastor Barry White of the nontraditional, nondenominational church said Jiang had attended church events in the summer.
“I noticed that in his social media posts, he was upset with the government and had indicated that he believed a lot of government employees attended our church,” White told WTOP.
Jiang faces charges for making threats of bodily harm and carrying a dangerous weapon to a place of religious worship.
“Law enforcement credits the concerned citizen who contacted police regarding these suspicious online postings, joint law enforcement efforts from multiple police agencies, and the staff of Park Valley Church for their vigilance. We encourage everyone to see something, say something,” Prince William County police said in a Facebook post.
Prince William County police ask anyone who had contact with Rui Jiang leading up to the incident contact them at 703-792-7000.
Feature image, stock.adobe.com
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