AP

Federal gun charges for 2 accused of plotting July 4 attack

Aug 3, 2022, 12:32 PM | Updated: 1:03 pm

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A judge dismissed state gun charges Wednesday against two men who police said planned a Fourth of July mass shooting in Virginia’s capital after charges were filed against the men in federal court.

Neither man has been charged specifically with planning a mass shooting.

Julio Alvarado-Dubon and Rolman Balcarcel-Bavagas, both Guatemalan immigrants, were charged in state court last month with possession of a firearm by a non-U.S. citizen. Richmond police held a news conference to announce that they had thwarted a July Fourth mass shooting planned by the men. The news conference was held just two days after a deadly mass shooting on the holiday in a Chicago suburb.

Chief Gerald Smith said then that a “hero citizen” contacted police after overhearing a conversation indicating there was an attack being planned on an Independence Day celebration in Richmond. The caller said the attack was planned for the Dogwood Dell Amphitheater, where an annual fireworks show is held, Smith said.

Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Colette McEachin said Wednesday that her office asked federal authorities to take over the case.

“These are two illegal aliens with guns so we wanted them prosecuted at the highest level possible,” McEachin said.

Alvarado-Dubon was charged Tuesday in federal court with possession of a firearm by a non-U.S. citizen. An affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint against Alvarado-Dubon said he last entered the U.S. in 2014 and had overstayed his visa by more than seven years. His attorney, Jose Aponte, said he is scheduled to be arraigned Friday in U.S. District Court. Aponte declined to comment on the case.

Balcarcel-Bavagas was charged in a federal criminal complaint with entering the U.S. illegally. His attorney, Samuel Simpson V, did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment. An affidavit written by an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent said Balcarcel-Bavagas was deported twice previously — in 2013 and 2014 — and re-entered the U.S. illegally.

During a hearing in Richmond General District Court Wednesday, Judge David Hicks asked a state prosecutor if there was any evidence that the mass shooting was planned for Dogwood Dell, the location Smith had cited.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Clint Seal said there was evidence of a planned shooting, but not at a specific location.

Hicks said he raised the issue because two of his sons were at Dogwood Dell on July Fourth. He said if there was evidence the shooting was planned for that location, he would have a conflict of interest and would need to recuse himself from the case.

No details about the alleged shooting plot have been included in documents filed in state or federal court, and police have not revealed any motive.

Richmond police issued a statement Wednesday saying Smith “stands behind the investigative work done by Richmond Police Detectives to stop a mass shooting planned for July 4th.”

A search warrant affidavit filed in state court said that after police received the tip, they contacted Homeland Security, then went to a home in Richmond, where police said both men lived. Officers seized two assault rifles, a handgun and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Former President Donald Trump sits in a courtroom next to his lawyer Todd Blanche before the start ...

Associated Press

Trump hush money trial enters new phase after defense rests without testimony from former president

Donald Trump's hush money trial is now closer to the moment when the jury will begin deciding the former president's fate.

4 hours ago

UoA student convicted of first-degree murder after killing professor...

Associated Press

Former Arizona grad student convicted of first-degree murder in 2022 shooting of professor

A former University of Arizona grad student was convicted of first-degree murder after fatally shooting a professor on campus two years ago.

7 hours ago

Rudy Giuliani bankruptcy filing defamation lawsuit...

Associated Press

Ex-NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Arizona’s Kelli Ward plead not guilty in fake elector case

Giuliani appeared remotely for the arraignment that was held in a Phoenix courtroom. His trial will take place in October.

13 hours ago

President Joe Biden gestures after speaking to graduating students at the Morehouse College commenc...

Associated Press

Biden tells Morehouse graduates that scenes in Gaza from the Israel-Hamas war break his heart, too

Joe Biden on Sunday offered his most direct recognition of U.S. students' anguish over the Israel-Hamas war.

2 days ago

Rudy Giuliani...

Associated Press

Rudy Giuliani is the final defendant served indictment in Arizona fake elector case

Rudy Giuliani has been served an indictment in Arizona's fake elector case for his role in an attempt to overturn the 2020 election.

3 days ago

Follow @ktar923...

Sponsored Content by Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

Sponsored Articles

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

Federal gun charges for 2 accused of plotting July 4 attack