Roanoke City leaders putting their foot down when it comes to gun violence

They held a press conference Monday to address a recent string of shootings

ROANOKE, Va. – “Sick and tired of getting reports. We’ve never had a week like this in Roanoke and I’ve been on council 20 years,” Roanoke Mayor Sherman Lea said.

Another violent week in the Star City prompted city leaders to respond.

“It’s unacceptable that our community members are afraid to leave their homes or send their children out to play in their neighborhoods,” Interim police chief Jerry Stokes said.

Five shootings in the span of a week leaving three dead.

Police working on moving resources around to address the issue.

“Our criminal investigations bureau will be shifting and reallocating personnel to target known offenders in our city,” Stokes said.

The latest shooting Sunday marks the twentieth homicide this year.

Vice Mayor Joe Cobb said this behavior is unacceptable.

“We have to stop killing each other,” Cobb said.

Mayor Lea said he wants to crack down on illegal gun owners.

“I don’t care how old you are. If you have a gun on you, I want you arrested. If you’re 14, 15, or 16, I want you arrested. you shouldn’t have an illegal gun,” Lea said.

In all but one shooting, there have been no arrests made. Something that Stokes said is frustrating.

“Even if you’re not concerned about yourself, which I don’t understand either, think about your neighbors,” Stokes said.

Stokes is ready to take action in order to put the dangerous trend to an end.

“We’ll be taking the lead and taking all of the city’s resources to address the problem,” Stokes said.

Police are asking anyone with any information on any of these shootings to please speak up. They say without help from the public, the issue of gun violence will never be solved.

RPD said you can call (540)344-8500 to share what you know, or text 274637 and begin the text with “RoanokePD” to ensure it’s properly sent. We’re told both calls and texts can remain anonymous.

About the Author

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

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