In the aftermath of the horrific mass shooting at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois, people were justifiably concerned that there could be more such mass shootings. So, not surprisingly, when Richmond City officials held a dramatic press conference on July 6 – in which the city’s police chief and mayor “said thanks to a ‘hero citizen’ informed the department that a mass shooting targeting the July 4 event at Dogwood Dell.” It didn’t take long, however, for holes in the story to appear. As a Richmond Times-Dispatch editorial stated on August 6:
It’s unfortunate that less than 24 hours later, the entire premise of National Night Out fell apart in a courtroom down the road. Stoney and Smith owe Richmonders a real explanation about a regrettable month of confusion — a series of moments that have fueled doubts about administration and department credibility.
…A court affidavit filed July 7 made no mention of a specific location. By July 11, there still was no motive as both men were charged in court. But Richmond police officers and Fourth of July celebration organizers told CBS6 and NBC12 they were not notified of the potential Dogwood Dell plot.
…In Richmond District Court on Wednesday, a critical exchange took place. As The Times-Dispatch reported, Judge David Hicks asked Clint Seal, a prosecutor in the Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, if there was any knowledge that Alvarado-Dubon or Balcarcel were implicated in a shooting plot on Dogwood Dell.
Hicks posed the question because he had children who attended the Fourth of July gathering, which would have been grounds for recusal. Seal responded, “No.”
So clearly, this entire story seems to have fallen apart over the past few weeks. And yet, here we are on August 13, and we still don’t have a clear, thorough, transparent explanation from Richmond officials as to what exactly happened. Now, as the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports, “Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., said Friday that Richmond officials owe residents a further explanation about the purported mass shooting plot city police said they foiled at Dogwood Dell.” See below for video of Sen. Kaine speaking about this matter. According to Kaine – who of course used to be Mayor of Richmond himself, prior to his election as Lt. Governor of Virginia (and then Governor and Senator):
“Well, I mean, if there are facts suggesting that this really was a potential mass tragedy, those need to be put on the table. Because city officials didn’t have to put it on the table at the outset, they could have just said we’ve arrested some people. But they put it on the table that we’ve arrested them and this was going to be a mass shooting incident. So having put that on the table, I do think the community is owed some answers about was that accurate or isn’t it.”
Exactly! And yes, we all have very good reason to be “puzzled and confused,” as Sen. Kaine is. So…what’s the answer, Richmond City officials?
Senator Tim Kaine said he’s ‘puzzled’ and ‘confused’ about the details surrounding an alleged mass shooting plot in Richmond— when asked by @CamThompsonCBS6.
While the Police Chief has since ‘ended discussion’ on the matter, Kaine said the community is owed answers. @CBS6 #RVA pic.twitter.com/7CUsOYZWHw
— Tyler Layne (@TylerLayneMusic) August 12, 2022