Aug 8, 2022 - News

Richmond police chief says no more questions on July 4 shooting plot

Chief Smith a close up of his face.

Police chief Gerald Smith. Photo: Ned Oliver/Axios

Richmond police chief Gerald Smith says he's not answering any more questions about his claims last month that the department foiled a Fourth of July mass shooting plot targeting Dogwood Dell.

  • "We are closing all discussion about the planned Fourth of July mass shooting," Smith told reporters at the outset of a crime briefing he held Monday.

Why it matters: It's a remarkable turnaround for Smith and Mayor Levar Stoney, who called a press conference and made national television appearances to highlight the incident as a law enforcement success story after seven people were killed in a shooting at a Fourth of July parade outside Chicago.

Catch up fast: Smith and Stoney's initial account was directly contradicted last week by a city prosecutor, who told a judge he did not have evidence supporting the claims of a specific target.

The latest: At Monday's briefing, Smith hedged his formerly unequivocal statements that Dogwood Dell was the target of the shooting plot, telling reporters that officers determined it was "most likely" the target based on the information they received.

Smith would not respond Monday when asked by Axios why the charges against one of the two men arrested in the case have been downgraded to a single count of entering the country illegally, which carries a maximum sentence of two years.

  • Both had previously faced charges of illegally possessing firearms.

What's next: The two men, Julio Alvarado Dubon and Rolman Balcarcel-Bavagas, are scheduled to appear in court hearings Tuesday.

  • So far, prosecutors have not mentioned the alleged plot described by police in court filings.

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