Roanoke Police Chief says it will take cops, court and the community to curb gun violence

“This is the time for everyone to come together,” said Chief Roman

Tuesday morning marked the fourth shooting in the last three days.

ROANOKE, Va. – Roanoke Police Chief Sam Roman said it will take more than just his team to combat gun violence in his city.

“This is the time for everyone to come together,” said Roman. “That includes our courts. That includes our community. That includes law enforcement to take a stand and say, ‘no longer will these folks be allowed to operate unfettered in our community.’”

While there are several initiatives his agency and the city government have implemented in this fight, Roman said his team does a lot of work the community doesn’t see to mitigate crime.

“In many cases, we are successful in stopping the next one, but of course no one gets to hear about those because we’re able to interrupt and mitigate those instances,” said Roman when he sat down one-on-one with 10 News on Monday.

Unfortunately, there are and still will be violence they cannot prevent.

In that vein, Roman said the community and the courts must do their part.

Convictions are the benediction, if you will, of a violent event.

10 News contacted the Roanoke City Commonwealth’s Attorney Don Caldwell Tuesday for comment; however, we were told he was tied up in meetings.

Caldwell’s staff said one of their biggest hurdles (one also shared by police) is victims and witnesses giving statements. Too often they refuse to talk.

“It takes being proactive, not reactive,” said Shawn Hunter, CEO of Peacemakers, one of the only community-driven teams solely focused on curbing crime.

“The thing I would love for the police to do is get in contact with us and designate to us what they consider to be the hotspots and I can put men and women out there to watch these hotspots,” said Hunter.

He is charging Roanoke City leadership to fund efforts like his teams.

“Anytime there’s somebody out there with a gun and you haven’t caught them yet, the public needs to worry,” said Hunter outside his office Tuesday, “and we got a lot of that going on in this city so we need to be proactive.”

Hunter plans to help recruit for the city’s police department by finding and encouraging people within the community to apply.

About the Author:

McKinley Strother joined the WSLS 10 News team in June 2020. He anchors 10 News at 6 and 11 on Saturdays and Sundays and you'll also catch him reporting during the week.