ROANOKE, Va. – Roanoke Mayor Sherman Lea feels the community needs to step up to the plate and be accountable following two shootings earlier this week.
The first one on Monday afternoon involved four teenagers; a 15-year-old charged with murder, another teenager under investigation by the police, 16-year-old Jaquice Kearney dead, and another teenage victim in the hospital. The second, Monday night, put another teenager in the hospital as police continue to investigate.
Lea said the buck stops here as he and other city leaders are distraught from the string of violence.
“I am so tired of people getting shot in our city and in a certain section of town and we’re shooting each other,” Lea said. “This young child somehow got the mindset that he could pull out a gun and take a life, just think about that, just think about that and what it takes to do that.”
So far this year four people have died and 17 others have been injured due to gun violence. Lea said that’s bad enough, but now he’s sickened it’s trickling down to middle and high schoolers.
“Young students now are seeing bodies lying in the street and it doesn’t even bother them, they just keep walking, something about the mentality is just not right with that,” Lea said.
Gun violence has continued to challenge the city over the last few years. Most times, victims know their shooters, and Lea said it’s time to look within.
“Our police are not using guns or shooting people, we’re doing it ourselves, especially in the African-American community, we’re shooting each other, senselessly,” Lea said. “So we want to walk around, and people are protesting in front of the police department and saying hey no peace, no justice, well we need to turn that around and take it to the neighborhoods and say let’s stop shooting each other. Black lives do matter because, right now, one would ask the question: Does it really?”