RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Two men accused of planning a mass shooting at a July Fourth event in Richmond, but who have not been charged with crimes related to the alleged plot, appeared in federal court for the first time Friday.
Richmond police said a tip from a citizen led to an investigation that thwarted plans for a mass shooting at the city’s event at Dogwood Dell. Two suspects, Rolman Balcarcel-Bavagas and Julio Alvarado-Dubon, were arrested and authorities seized two assault rifles and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, according to police.
Police Chief Gerald Smith claimed the investigation pointed to Dogwood Dell as the target during a July 6 press conference, but city prosecutors told a circuit court judge on Aug. 3 that there was no evidence of a specific target.
“The Commonwealth’s evidence was that a tipster communicated to the police that he knew someone who has said that he was going to shoot up a large event on the Fourth of July,” Richmond’s Commonwealth Attorney Colette McEachin said in a statement.
“No specific time was mentioned by the tipster. Neither Dogwood Dell, nor any other specific location, was ever mentioned by the tipster.”
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.
Alvarado-Dubon faces a federal charge of possessing a firearm while in the country illegally and Balcarcel-Bavagas has been indicted for allegedly re-entering the United States illegally, court records show. Court filings do not mention or share evidence of plans to commit a mass shooting.
This story is developing. Check back for updates.