Lynchburg police, local leaders address gun violence in the city

Police plan to allocate more resources to the patrol force to be more proactive

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Police and local leaders are continuing to combat the ongoing issue of gun violence.

As of Friday afternoon, there had been four gun-related incidents in the city – all within a span of a week.

One person was killed, and three others were injured in total as a result of the incidents.

Lynchburg Police Chief Ryan Zuidema said they need the community’s support to really address the issue.

“We need the community’s help. These are community issues that we’re dealing with, they’re only going to be resolved when everyone in our community takes ownership of the problem,” Zuidema said.

The chief held a press conference on Friday afternoon to talk about what his department will be doing right now to combat gun violence.

He said resources from other parts of the department will be shifted to the patrol force and more cops will be in uniform.

“That has caused us to be a much more reactive agency than I would like. So to put these resources toward our patrol function will allow us to be much more proactive,” Zuidema said.

Zuidema said in the case of the more recent acts of violence, some of the victims and witnesses haven’t been as helpful.

Councilwoman Elect Stephanie Reed focused her 2022 campaign on the platform of public safety.

She said her work is beginning even before she takes her seat on the council.

“Making sure people understand ... we get it, we’re concerned too. And then talking to law enforcement community and figuring out what’s the strategy that can help combat it the best so that we can all feel more at ease,” Reed said.

Reed is a mother herself. and said her heart aches for the victims and their families.

“That’s a person. That’s someone’s child. That’s someone’s parent. That’s someone’s sibling. It’s a life and that matters to me,” Reed said.

Delegate Wendell Walker also said he is going to try to help fight this issue up in Richmond.

“That’s my job now ... is to go back and see what we can do to help secure more resources for our Lynchburg Police Department, our surround sheriff’s department and that’s definitely one goal I’ll be working on,” Walker said.

One theme has remained consistent in this battle: the relationship between police and the community is vital to combatting gun violence.

About the Author:

Connor Dietrich joined the 10 News team in June 2022. Originally from Castle Rock, Colorado, he's ready to step away from the Rockies and step into the Blue Ridge scenery.