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Suspect in alleged Fourth of July mass shooting plot being held without bond

A crowd gathers at the Dogwood Dell Amphitheater in 2018.
A crowd gathers at the Dogwood Dell Amphitheater during 2018. (File photo: Scott Elmquist/VPM News)

One of two suspects police say were allegedly planning a mass shooting on the Fourth of July is being held in custody without bond. 

On Monday, a judge denied bond for 38-year-old Rolman Balacarcel at his arraignment. 

Balacarcel and Julio Alvarado-Dubon, 52, have both been charged with being a noncitizen in possession of a firearm. Their next hearing dates are Aug. 3 and 2, respectively. 

Richmond prosecutors, in a petition filed Wednesday, appealed a court’s decision to grant Alvarado-Dubon $15,000 bond. He is currently still in custody at Richmond City Justice Center. Balacarcel was transferred to Richmond from Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail  on Friday. 

Richmond police said in a press release last week that they began an investigation into a planned shooting after receiving a tip from a concerned citizen. They arrested Alvarado-Dubon on July 2 at his home, where officers reportedly seized a collection of firearms and about 200 hundred rounds of ammunition. Virginia State Police arrested Balacarcel on July 5 in Charlottesville.  

During a Wednesday press conference, Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith said a “hero resident” reported overhearing a suspicious conversation about plans to attack a Fourth of July celebration at the Dogwood Dell Amphitheater, where an annual fireworks show is held. 

The tipster made a “cognizant choice to be part of the solution and do something as simple as pick up the phone and give us a call,” he said. 

Mayor Levar Stoney said he and City Council are working with police and other city departments to reduce violence in Richmond — but called for state and federal lawmakers to implement stricter gun control policies.