‘Our state has a gun violence problem’: Virginia prosecutors weigh in on uptick in shootings

Prosecutors believe a number of factors have lead to the increase

ROANOKE, Va. – As acts of gun violence rise across the country and here in Southwest Virginia, state and local prosecutors are working on plans to address it.

“Almost every city with any kind of urban population has seen an uptick in violence for the last couple years,” Roanoke City Commonwealth’s Attorney Donald Caldwell said.

Caldwell has been prosecuting these crimes in Roanoke City for four decades.

He says a number of factors lead to the increase.

“I don’t know what it is but you know, clearly Roanoke is seeing its share and I’m hoping it doesn’t get any worse.”

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring says change is needed on a national level.

“Our country and our state has a gun violence problem,” Herring said.

Herring says stronger background checks and additional funding could help curb the problem.

“I’m going to work to try to access as much of that new funding as possible that the president has talked about, and try to get them into as many communities as possible,” Herring said.

This November, Herring will face off against Jason Miyares for the Attorney General role.

“Safety of the public’s my number one mission, I’m a former prosecutor,” Candidate for Attorney General Jason Miyares said.

Miyares says most of these crimes are committed by repeat offenders.

“If you want to lower gun violence, you go after those repeat offenders, and you get them out of our neighborhoods,” Miyares said.

Still, local law enforcement officials agree it will take the work of everyone to address the issue.

“Law enforcement has to have the support of its community, the community has to have the support of its courts, legislators and judges, all of that work together in the ecosystem of solving this problem,” Roanoke Police Chief Sam Roman said.

Funding from the Biden Administration would examine more gun violence prevention efforts in cities across the nation.

About the Author

Annie Schroeder joined the 10 News team as a reporter in June 2020 and is no stranger to Southwest Virginia.

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