ROANOKE, Va. - "I don't know how many times I've got to say this, Roanoke is a safe city, but when we combine [social encounters and circumstances and alcohol], in conjunction with each other, bad things happen," said Roanoke police Chief Tim Jones Monday afternoon discussing Sunday morning's shooting.
Jones got heated discussing the shooting, which he said escalated from a confrontation that began when someone had too much to drink and vomited on someone else's shoes.
The shooting sent 35-year-old Timothy Pendleton to the hospital and police have now identified a person of interest in the case. The Buchanan man is in stable condition after being shot once in the hip, according to Jones.
Around 2 a.m. Sunday is when multiple officers heard the gunshot in downtown.
The circumstances that led to the shooting began as a confrontation between two groups at Awful Arthur's in downtown.
The bar's employees moved the confrontation outside and once that happened, a fight between two women happened.
Before the shooting, the suspect went to a vehicle, retrieved the handgun and shot Pendleton.
A video of the shooting has gone viral on Twitter. Jones addressed some of the react
Jones said the shooter then moved very nonchalantly through an array of police officers, put the gun back in the vehicle and was picked up by someone in a different car.
"What type of individual nonchalantly walks over to a car, gets a gun, come back and shoot another human being?" Jones angrily rhetorically questioned while addressing the media.
The vehicle where the shooter left the gun was towed to the Police Department. The police have recovered the gun, which will be forensically examined for many different reasons, according to Jones.
Jones said police have been successful in securing a person of interest in the shooting. Jones wouldn't identify the shooter because his whereabouts are not yet readily known.
Jones said he would not put more officers downtown in response to this shooting citing the fact it's difficult to regulate both human and moral behavior.
"And obviously there's not a whole lot of moral behavior going on after 2 a.m. in our downtown," said Jones.
Jones later went on to say that there were 10 officers in proximity to the shooting.
"Obviously, putting more police officers down there won't fix it because this individual felt perfectly comfortable walking through at least 10 to get a gun and shoot someone," said Jones. "I could put a police officer on every corner and if someone intent to do harm to another one decided to do so, they would, regardless of where that police officer was standing."
At multiple points during Monday's news conference, Jones expressed his anger with what had happened.
"This isn't some kind of rap video. This is a place where we live. This is where people are supposed to take personal responsibility for their actions and try to de-escalate and get people out of trouble," said Jones. "But that's not what we see. And that's not what we see all too often in our downtown."
Jones also guaranteed that the suspect in this shooting would be arrested.
Speculating, Jones said, "This subject has numerous encounters with law enforcement, perhaps not here, but somewhere else. Probably has had a history of violent offenses, most likely has been incarcerated in some correctional facility for a period of time and has probably been released within the last three years. I see it all too often."
Jones also commented on those who may have seen something but have not come forward to police.
"I don't know how many times we've got to go through this scenario folks. So do me a favor, take some personal responsibility. If you live in this city and you care, by all means, do the right thing. If you don't, move somewhere else. I have had it with ya."
Jones also spent some time commenting on how violence is perceived in our culture.
"We condone violence. We think violence is fun. We encourage our friends to come down and watch other people get hurt. I can't explain it. Perhaps our PhDs in the sociology and psychology world would like to chime in on this one." said Jones.
Jones also added that the department is considering accessory charges for others involved with the shooting and the video.
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