Richmond’s mayor addresses questions about alleged mass shooting plot

Published: Jul. 8, 2022 at 3:23 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 8, 2022 at 7:56 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Richmond’s mayor is providing cover for the city’s police chief as questions emerge about an alleged mass shooting plan and the response.

“This is the first time I’m hearing about embellishment, but I will say I credit the Richmond Police Department,” said Mayor Levar Stoney, City of Richmond.

Those inside the department tell NBC12 there were no briefings from the FBI and Virginia State Police ahead of the Fourth of July, and officers on patrol were also never informed.

Meanwhile, a newly surfaced search warrant provides details about what’s going on but still no motive. On July 1, police say a concerned citizen contacted them about a man planning a mass shooting on Independence Day, but no mention of Dogwood Dell or The Diamond as targets.

A police spokesperson now says a subsequent investigation led them to believe Dogwood Dell would be the location.

“A threat about mass, a mass shooting around a fireworks show. And so you start to deduce from that where a fireworks show was going to be held in the City of Richmond,” said Stoney.

Two men from Guatemala are behind bars in connection with the plan and are only charged with being non-U.S. citizens in possession of a gun. Police seized weapons on July 1 from a home on Columbia Street.

“But as they brought him out, you know what I’m saying, like what happened? That’s my buddy. You know what I’m saying? That and just that he’s a good guy,” said an unidentified neighbor on Columbia Street.

That neighbor didn’t want his face shown either but said he was friends with one of the suspects. He says Julio Alvarado-Dubon helped him with yard work and worked on his car.

“I don’t think, to me, he never showed nothing to me, you know what I’m saying. He always shown kindness to me. Know what I’m saying? Me, him, we talked,” said the neighbor.

Police left Rolman Balacarcel behind. He’s the man the tipster said was behind the plot. That citizen also said Balacarcel was part of a Mexican drug cartel.

“I want folks to ask questions, but let’s all remember and be very thankful that we are very blessed that nothing happened on the Fourth of July in this community,” said Mayor Stoney.

Balacarel will have an arraignment hearing on Monday morning.

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