ROANOKE, Va. – Roanoke City Council got an update on efforts to reduce gun violence in the city during their afternoon session Monday.
Police Chief Sam Roman reported that 96 illegally possessed firearms have been seized in 2022, including 30 within the month of April. A search warrant tied to a recent shooting also yielded the seizure of drugs and five of those firearms, he added.
A grand jury is being convened in two homicide cases this year as well, the chief says.
The city’s RESET team, an organized group that responds to acts of gun violence, deployed four times in April.
Prevention, intervention and justice are the recipe for ending the violence, the chief and council believe.
There is no short supply of opinions on how to address this issue in the community or on the council.
Councilman Joe Cobb was critical of the media’s coverage of opioid deaths which he says have ties to violence.
He said, “they never cover the opioid-related overdoses and the connection between drug use and drug deals and gun violence. There is a direct correlation.”
The topic led to a conversation between the councilman and Mayor Sherman Lea who said, “Many times in these overdoses, that is a choice people make. Getting shot isn’t a choice.”
“We do more listening than we do talking, and we ensure when we listen we do so with an ear to understand and not an ear to respond,” said Roman.
Councilman Cobb made a call to ex-offenders to serve as mentors.
“They’re paid positions but for a lot of folks who are previously incarcerated and struggle to find employment, here’s an opportunity,” said Cobb.
Across the council and the city, frustration with the violence is commonplace.
For more information, contact City Councilman Joe Cobb at 540-580-9645, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here to watch the full council meeting.