Danville shooting latest of SWVA violent crime incidents

Violent crime is up 5% in the Commonwealth, according to the 2022 VSP Crime Report

VIRGINIA – While drug charges are trending down, violent crime is going up.

That’s according to Virginia State Police’s 2022 crime report.

Putting a face to those statistics, a man whose son was tragically killed in a local shooting told his story to the Danville Youth Police Academy and talked about change he’s hoping to see.

“When my wife called and told me, I didn’t feel anything. I was numb. And it was probably 4 o’clock the next morning before it hit me,” Curtis Gore said.

Brandon Gore was 29 years old when he lost his life to gun violence in Danville - Tuesday would’ve been his 31st birthday.

“I’d give a million dollars just to talk to him,” Curtis said.

Now over a year later, Curtis speaking to the Danville Youth Police Academy says he wants to see more change.

“Walk away. Because you don’t know what a person has in their pocket, and once that gun is pulled, once that trigger is pulled, there’s no do-over,” he said.

Danville has seen two shootings in the past month involving teenagers - one of them deadly.

The latest incident happened overnight near Washington and First Street.

Police say a 17-year-old is in critical condition after he was shot multiple times.

Sgt. David Ferguson says people don’t always think about what comes after they open fire.

“What happens to a family? What happens to a community when they lose a young person?” Ferguson said.

Across the state, Virginia State Police say violent crime rose nearly five percent last year alone.

Roanoke City Commonwealth Attorney Don Caldwell says he’s not surprised at the upward trend.

“It’s consistent with what’s going on across the country. And actually, I would’ve said I’m surprised it was only five percent.”

Numbers from last year also show drug charges are down nearly nine percent - but Caldwell says he’s still prosecuting just as many cases, which is expected in larger cities.

“They’re gonna see more drug crime and more violent crime. You could have an overall decrease across the state, but still not a decrease in those populated areas,” Caldwell said.

Gun violence has also been a problem - with almost 30 shootings so far this year.

Caldwell says change in the Star City starts with change in the Commonwealth.

“Truly I think criminal justice reform hurt the system, the process. I really think that as we look to solutions, we have to look to the General Assembly,” Caldwell said.

Attorney General Jason Miyares says after seeing the report, there’s plenty of work to be done.

“Unfortunately, we are still feeling the impact from the criminal first, victim last mentality of the previous administration. This report highlights the importance of having tough-on-crime policies in Richmond and finding new ways to support our law enforcement officers. At the end of 2022, my office was able to launch Operation Ceasefire - a proven method to reduce violent crime by putting the repeat, violent offenders behind bars and working with the community for preventative efforts. We will continue to work with the Governor to make our communities safer,” he said.

About the Author

Abbie Coleman officially joined the WSLS 10 News team in January 2023.