Man charged after threatening to shoot Roanoke mayor, council members

Situation prompted Mayor Lea to advocate for officers at future meetings


The man who threatened to shoot the Roanoke mayor and city council members is now facing charges, according to the Roanoke Police Department.  

 Robert Gravely, 72, was taken into custody Tuesday and charged with disorderly conduct in public places as a result of his statement at the city council meeting on Monday. 

Gravely agreed to go to the Roanoke Police Department to be served. The warrant was served around 6 p.m. on Tuesday with no incident. 


A man threatened to shoot Roanoke Mayor Sherman Lea and other city council members.

It happened at Monday afternoon's meeting and it's not the first time he's done this.

Now, Mayor Sherman Lea wants a police presence at future meetings for everyone's safety. 

"I've asked you to shut up Mr. Mayor, I can have seven police officers, seven deputies with chains to remove you from that seat so listen up," said resident Robert Gravely.

"I'm telling you, you are out of order," said Mayor Sherman Lea. 

This was the outburst that brought Monday afternoon's Roanoke City Council meeting to a screeching halt.
Gravely is a frequent flyer at council meetings, but this time the mayor says gravely's normal grievances went too far. 

"These days in the climate we live in with people threatening to take action against you, you can't take those things lightly. Especially from him and he should know better, he's done it before," said Mayor Lea. 

"You put me in jail when I first talked and said I made a threat, my statement was I can and I will have you shot, believe it or not I can," said Gravely.

Gravely was escorted out of the building and talked to the police, and says he stands by his statement. 

"I can, according to the constitution, a presidential order, any man who conspires against America should be shot on the spot, John Bush, President of the United States," said Gravely. 

Police did not end up charging Gravely or barring him from the building but the city attorney says the situation remains under review.

"He's threatening about running you out of office or voting you out of office and that's okay he has a right to do that, but when we're talking about threatening and shooting, that's across the line," said Mayor Lea.

Just a month prior, Council announced they're asking Richmond for a second time the permission to restrict guns at meetings.

Mayor Lea says this situation is a prime example and he also wants police officers at meetings going forward.

What happened upset council and people in attendance, including an 11-year-old Boy Scout and his mother there working on a merit badge.

"People have to know that they're safe because some people, they're just afraid," said Mayor Lea. 

The Roanoke City Manager says he is looking into the mayor's request.