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Men accused of plotting mass shooting in Richmond waive rights to detention hearing

WRIC Richmond logo WRIC Richmond 8/10/2022 Tannock Blair
Men accused of plotting mass shooting in Richmond waive rights to detention hearing © Provided by WRIC Richmond Men accused of plotting mass shooting in Richmond waive rights to detention hearing

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Two men arrested in connection to an alleged mass shooting plot appeared in federal court in Richmond today. Both Rolman Balcarcel-Bavagas and Julio Alvarado-Dubon waived their right to a detention hearing, meaning they will stay in the custody of U.S. Marshals until the court proceedings have run their course.

Balacarcel — who was charged with illegal re-entry after the Department of Homeland Security documented previous deportations in 2013 and 2014 — was also scheduled for arraignment in another courtroom immediately following the detention hearing. He pleaded not guilty and called for a jury trial instead.

If convicted, Balacarcel will be facing maximum penalties of $250,000 in fines, two years behind bars and one year of supervised release. He may also be facing possible immigration issues.

Jury selection for Balacarcel’s trial will be held in October and will be exclusive to vaccinated jurors, according to the judge. The trial — which attorneys expect will take just one day — is set for October 7.

PREVIOUSLY: Men accused of plotting mass shooting in Richmond appear in federal court

On July 6, Richmond police announced that 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."

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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.

Olivia Jaquith contributed to this report.

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