HAYMARKET, VA – A potential mass shooting at a church in Northern Virginia was averted on Sunday morning, thanks to the swift action of local law enforcement. Rui Jiang, 35, was apprehended at Park Valley Church in Haymarket, armed with a loaded firearm and additional ammunition. Authorities believe Jiang was intent on committing a mass shooting.
The plot was foiled just minutes before it could be executed. As the congregation was entering the church, Jiang was in the church’s vestibule, ready to carry out his deadly plan.
The potential massacre was prevented due to an alert citizen who noticed disturbing posts on Instagram and promptly alerted the police. The posts featured Jiang brandishing a firearm at images of churches. The concerned individual’s call to the Anne Arundel Police Department set the wheels in motion to prevent the impending tragedy.
Early Sunday morning, Jiang scouted the area and posted pictures from the parking lot. After the concerned citizen’s call, Anne Arundel County police determined Jiang’s residence in the Bailey’s Crossroads area of Fairfax County. A welfare check was conducted at his home, but Jiang was not present.
At 10 a.m., Fairfax County authorities requested the Prince William County Police Department to search for Jiang in the Park Valley Church area. Shortly after 10 a.m., Jiang was arrested at the church, armed with a loaded semi-automatic pistol, an extra magazine, and a knife.
A subsequent search of Jiang’s home revealed a chilling “kill manifesto.” Despite the disturbing nature of his plans, Jiang claimed he did not know anyone at the church. He was aware that his intended victims were strangers to him.
Senior Pastor Barry White expressed relief and gratitude that no one was harmed. Despite the incident, White affirmed that the church would continue its services as usual, welcoming everyone while maintaining vigilance for everyone’s safety. Jiang is currently held without bond, facing charges for making threats and bringing a weapon to a church.