‘We pick up the pieces’: Victory in the Valley share hopes after latest Roanoke shooting

FEDUP held a prayer vigil Sunday to pray for an end to the violence

ROANOKE, Va. – “We pick up the pieces. We don’t get disappointed. We don’t operate in fear; that’s worship to the enemy,” member of Victory in the Valley Reverend J.L. Jackson said.

Nine days after the launch of a new gun violence prevention initiative, Roanoke was faced with another homicide. On the heels of that incident, two more people were killed in another deadly shooting late Sunday night, leaving three people dead within the span of 24 hours.

Victory in the Valley’s initial goal was 30 days of no shootings, but Jackson said they won’t let this set them back.

“Our initiatives continue to go. We’ll put another ‘V’ in the next day. And we’ll continue until we see the entire calendar filled up with victory all over the valley,” he said.

On Sunday, FEDUP, a gun violence prevention group and member of Victory in the Valley, hosted a prayer vigil to end gun violence.

Co-founder Rita Joyce said while the vigil was planned before Sunday morning’s shooting, it’s still timely.

“We’ll go another seven days; we’ll make it 14 days. We’re not going to quit. Giving up is not an option for us,” Joyce said.

Joyce and Jackson both said Roanoke needs to be proactive, not reactive.

“We can’t wait to be reactive; we’ve got to do this continuously,” Joyce said.

“We are proactively going after this violence. We’re praying before the gun goes off not just after, we’re praying before,” Jackson said.

Members of the community said they’re excited about a partnership with incoming police chief Scott Booth in the coming months.

“His load is gonna be heavy. And we have to work with him, expecting him to work with us,” Jackson said.

Jackson said the hope is for an overall decrease in violence.

“We’re not oblivious to think that we’ll completely get rid of it, but we’ll see a decrease,” he said.

Joyce will never forget the families left suffering.

“Some of them are recent; some of them are old. But the impact of gun violence lingers on for families for years to come,” she said.

About the Author:

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