A judge reportedly dismissed state gun charges on Wednesday against the two men who police said planned a Fourth of July mass shooting in Virginia's capital after charges were filed against the men in federal court.

Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney Colette McEachin said on Wednesday that her office asked federal authorities to take over the case. "These are two illegal aliens with guns so we wanted them prosecuted at the highest level possible."

Both Guatemalan immigrants, Julio Alvarado-Dubon and Rolman Balcarcel-Bavagas, were charged in state court in July for possession of a firearm by a non-United States citizen.

Chief Gerald Smith shared that a "hero citizen" called police after overhearing a discussion indicating there was an attack being planned on an Independence Day celebration in Richmond. The caller said the attack was scheduled for the Dogwood Dell Amphitheater, where an annual fireworks show is held.

Alvarado-Dubon was charged on Tuesday in federal court with possession of a firearm by a non-U.S. citizen. As stated in an affidavit filed supporting the criminal complaint against Alvarado-Dubon, he last entered the U.S. in 2014 and had overstayed his visa by more than seven years. Jose Aponte, Alvarado-Dubon's attorney, said he is scheduled to be arraigned on Friday in U.S. District Court.

Meanwhile, Balcarcel-Bavagas was charged in a federal criminal complaint with entering the U.S. illegally. An Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent said Balcarcel-Bavagas was deported twice previously — in 2013 and 2014 — and re-entered the U.S. illegally.

Judge David Hicks asked a state prosecutor on Wednesday for any evidence that the mass shooting was planned for Dogwood Dell. In response, Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Clint Seal said there was evidence of a planned shooting; however, there was no specific location.

Hicks raised the issue because two of his sons were at Dogwood Dell on the day of the supposed incident. He shared that if there was evidence the shooting was planned for that location, he would have a conflict of interest and would need to withdraw himself from the case.

Police have not shared any motive for the alleged shooting. No details about the plan have been included in documents filed in state or federal court.

Richmond police issued a statement on Wednesday saying Smith "stands behind the investigative work done by Richmond Police Detectives to stop a mass shooting planned for July 4th."

According to the search warrant affidavit that was filed in state court, after the police received the tip, they contacted Homeland Security, then went to a home in Richmond, where police said both men resided. Officers collected two assault rifles, a handgun and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.

Judge's Gavel
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