RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — In a newsletter sent out on Monday, Richmond’s 2nd District Councilor Katherine Jordan called for a City Council meeting about the July 4 alleged mass shooting plot, saying that a discussion around the topic among members is “not only reasonable, but imperative.”
“While we wait for clarification on the investigation, there are process and communication structures the City must improve,” a statement in Jordan’s newsletter reads. “Though Council is in recess in August, I and others asked for a special meeting and hope to share back substantive information after Council is able to collectively meet and discuss this issue as a body.”
Jordan’s call for a City Council meeting around the incident comes less than one week after U.S. Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia said that the Richmond community “is owed some answers” about an alleged mass shooting plot that police claimed targeted a July Fourth event at Dogwood Dell. Kaine is a former Richmond mayor and resident of the city.
Earlier in August, Richmond’s Commonwealth Attorney’s Office decided not to pursue charges against the two suspects of the alleged mass shooting plot, Rolman Balcarcel-Bavagas and Julio Alvarado-Dubon. Court documents revealed Balcarcel-Bavagas was indicted for allegedly re-entering the United States illegally, while Alvarado-Dubon faced a federal charge of possessing a firearm while in the country illegally.
Additionally, the prosecutor representing the Commonwealth in court confirmed on Aug. 3 that there had been no evidence of a specific location in Richmond for the alleged plot.
When Balcarcel-Bavagas and Alvarado-Dubon were arrested, police said authorities seized two assault rifles and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. The two suspects appeared in federal court for the first time on Friday, Aug. 5.
In her newsletter statement on Monday, Jordan emphasized the importance of communication between city agencies after questions surrounding the alleged plot continued to surface.
“As the potential mass shooting case progresses, there are increasing questions. Any event of this magnitude should be scrutinized, and I am among those who believe discussion is not only reasonable, but imperative,” Jordan said. “I have been, and will continue to, listen and uplift community concerns and work with my colleagues to find answers to what are legitimate questions.”
Jordan’s statement also comes after Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith told reporters in a department quarterly crime briefing on Aug. 8 that he no longer wished to discuss the alleged mass shooting plot, and that the case was being dealt with at the federal level.
“We are closing all discussion about the planned Fourth of July mass shooting,” Chief Smith said during the briefing. “The matter is now in the hands of the federal government. As I’ve often stated, we will follow wherever the investigation leads us.”
Jordan added in her statement that she was thankful for the citizen who “saw something and said something,” and commended the work of responding officers and investigators, which led “to the removal of multiple firearms and hundreds of rounds of ammunition from the streets.”