Bacon’s Rebellion is pleased to begin cross-posting from RVA 5X5, the new Substack publication of Jon Baliles, who worked for the City of Richmond under Mayors Doug Wilder and Levar Stoney and been active in the civic and artistic communities for many Jon Baliles

Today’s edition (of RVA 5X) starts off similarly to a few weeks ago, unfortunately with several related stories about crime. A few weeks back it was the cause and effect of fewer police and fire personnel on the streets, which coincides with spiking crime and fire stations facing potential brown outs and using three-member teams instead of four.

This week it begins with the by now well-known story about the uncovering of an alleged plot a mass shooting in Richmond over July 4th.

And a phone call tip by from someone “who overheard a conversation regarding a mass shooting” and thus prevented the mass shooting after Richmond Police and federal officials have arrested two men “two assault rifles, a handgun and several hundred rounds of ammunition.”

Richmond Police Chief William Smith said: “There is no telling how many lives this hero citizen saved from one phone call. It is the responsibility of law enforcement that if we hear something, that we do something, and that is the message I would like to get out there — that ‘see something, say something’ works.”

And we should be thankful that the tip prevented a tragedy and the men were taken into custody.

But that is where the story gets a little cloudy. The two men, both from Guatemala, so far are charged with possession of a firearm by a non-citizen but the investigation remains ongoing.
Graham Moomaw reports at The Virginia Mercury some unsettling details and contradictions. He points out that one of the suspects was granted $15,000 bail by a judge even despite objections from the Commonwealth Attorney’s office to overrule the bail conditions set by the judge, citing community safety as more paramount.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Colette McEachin did not immediately respond to a request for comment on how the suspect was granted bail this week, over prosecutors’ objections, given the gravity of the accusations against him.

Richmond police…have provided few specifics so far about why they believe the men were planning a mass shooting at a Fourth of July celebration held in Dogwood Dell, an outdoor event space in a city park.

“We do know that they were coming to do a mass shooting at the Dogwood Dell at our Fourth of July celebration,” Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith said in an appearance on CNN Wednesday night. “We have no idea what their motive is as of yet. I don’t know if they’re really speaking to investigators at this point in time.”

Moomaw continues:

“Richmond police officials seem to be presenting differing accounts about the specificity of the threat.
Smith has said Dogwood Dell was the intended target, but WRIC, a Richmond TV station, reported an RPD spokesperson “said the tip did not specify a specific location for the threat.” The initial news release from police also did not mention a specific target.

Richmond police spokesperson Tracy Walker did not immediately respond Thursday to an emailed inquiry seeking clarification on that point.”

I feel there is much more to this story yet to unfold and far too early to draw any conclusions, but there remain many questions to be asked and more we will learn. Vigilance is key.

This column has been republished with permission from RVA 5X5.

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5 responses to “Crime and (No) Punishment”

  1. Matt Adams Avatar
    Matt Adams

    “I feel there is much more to this story yet to unfold and far too early to draw any conclusions, but there remain many questions to be asked and more we will learn. Vigilance is key.”

    I concur, I would like to know where they acquired the firearms as they were not legal citizens. If a dealer supplied them, that dealer should be arrested and stripped of their license if they failed to complete the legal checks.

  2. LarrytheG Avatar

    Yep… something ‘hinky” going on here…

    1. Nancy Naive Avatar
      Nancy Naive

      Liberty City Seven. Shockoe Bottom Two?

  3. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
    Dick Hall-Sizemore

    I would like to point out that the “progressive” Commonwealth’s attorney, who is the target of a later post, objected to the alleged shooter being released on bond and has appealed that decision.

  4. Virginia is for ‘mass casualty event’ Lovers… plan to kill a bunch of people, get only $15K for bail. Or so I just read….

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