HAYMARKET, VA – A 35-year-old man was apprehended on Sunday after he brought a loaded firearm and knives into a church service in Virginia. The arrest followed a multi-state investigation triggered by ambiguous threats the man had posted on Instagram, according to law enforcement officials.
The suspect, identified as Rui Jiang from Falls Church, near Arlington, was charged with making threats of bodily harm and carrying a dangerous weapon to a place of religious worship. The police were alerted to a potential threat of violence at Park Valley Church in Haymarket, approximately 40 miles southwest of Falls Church, shortly after 10 a.m.
The initial tip-off came from another state, after law enforcement in Anne Arundel County, Maryland received a report from a resident in Laurel. The resident had noticed “suspicious and concerning” Instagram posts from Jiang, although it remains unclear how the Maryland resident came across these posts or their relationship to the suspect.
The Instagram posts contained ambiguous threats of violence, some of which included images of later identified as Park Valley Church, according to Prince William County police. Authorities were able to identify a potential address for Jiang in Falls Church, leading Fairfax County police to dispatch officers to the residence. However, Jiang was not found at the location.
As the investigation progressed, police in Prince William County were informed of the situation and dispatched officers to Park Valley Church. An off-duty plainclothes officer and church staff located and detained Jiang near the church entrance without any incident. It was later discovered that Jiang had entered the building through a different door and had been inside the church before his detention. Church services were ongoing at the time.
Upon his arrest, Jiang was found in possession of a loaded handgun, an additional magazine, a folding knife, and a folding “credit card” style knife. He had a concealed weapon permit, and the firearm was not reported as stolen. Following his arrest, documents and electronic items were seized from a residence associated with Jiang after an Emergency Substantial Risk Order and a search warrant were obtained. Jiang is currently being held without bond, and police are urging anyone who may have had previous contact with him to come forward.