RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A federal grand jury indicted Julio Alvarado Dubon, one of the two men accused of planning a mass shooting in Richmond, on a weapons charge Tuesday. Prosecutors have yet to bring forward any charges directly linking Dubon to a mass shooting plot.
The grand jury indicted Dubon on a federal charge of possessing a firearm while in the country illegally, court records show. A legal expert says the indictment shows federal prosecutors believe they have evidence to back up the charge.
“What we don’t know, and what people are certainly speculating about, is whether there is any more,” attorney Russ Stone told 8News on Wednesday. “Unfortunately, we don’t know the answer to that. The government may very well be continuing their investigation into all this.”
Richmond police said the department thwarted a mass shooting plot that targeted the city’s July 4 event at Dogwood Dell, with an investigation leading to the arrests of Dubon and Rolman Balcarcel-Bavagas and the seizure of assault rifles and ammunition.
Questions have emerged over the alleged plot after a city prosecutor contradicted Richmond Police Chief Gerald’s Smith claim that Dogwood Dell was the target. The prosecutor and Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Colette McEachin said no evidence pointed to a specific target.
City prosecutors dropped the initial charges against both men so federal prosecutors could pursue charges against them. Neither the city nor prosecutors in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia have filed charges connected to an alleged mass shooting plot, but additional charges could come.
“If they later determine that they feel they can prove more crimes, then they are allowed to obtain additional charges. That would be called in federal court, a superseding indictment,” Stone added. “But until they do that, we really don’t know whether there will be any more charges forthcoming.”
Balcarcel-Bavagas was charged with allegedly re-entering the United States illegally and pled not guilty during his Aug. 9 federal court appearance.
Court records show a plea agreement hearing for Balcarcel-Bavagas has been set for Aug. 25. But the scheduled hearing does not mean a plea deal is on the table for Balcarcel-Bavagas, according to Stone.
After the city’s top prosecutor contradicted the police’s account, Richmond police chief Gerald Smith told reporters on Aug. 8 the department was “closing all discussion about the planned Fourth of July mass shooting.”
This came after both chief Smith and Mayor Levar Stoney made national television appearances to discuss the investigation they said thwarted the alleged plot. On Tuesday, Smith addressed the alleged plot in a one-on-one interview with 8News’ Olivia Jaquith.
“I determined it was the Dogwood Dell from the facts; from the tipster; from the investigation; and from my 30 years of experience,” Smith said during his interview with 8News.