RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A plea agreement hearing has been set for one of the two men accused of planning a mass shooting at a Fourth of July event in Richmond, court records show.
Richmond police said the department thwarted a mass shooting plot that targeted the city’s July 4 event at Dogwood Dell, but a city prosecutor contradicted that claim when he told a circuit court judge that no evidence pointed to a specific target.
Rolman Balcarcel-Bavagas and Julio Alvarado-Dubon were arrested after an investigation and authorities seized two assault rifles and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, according to police.
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 charged with allegedly re-entering the United States illegally. Balcarcel-Bavagas pled not guilty and requested a jury trial during his Aug. 9 court appearance.
It’s not clear whether a plea agreement has been reached or discussed but court records show a hearing for Balcarcel-Bavagas has been set for Aug. 25. Russ Stone, a Richmond attorney, told 8News that a plea agreement hearing does not mean a deal is on the table for Balcarcel-Bavagas and added that most cases are resolved through such agreements.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia declined to comment Tuesday and Balcarcel-Bavagas’ attorney did not respond to multiple requests for comment. According to court records, Balcarcel-Bavagas’ case is set for jury selection and opening statements in October.