Roanoke Gun Violence Task Force meets virtually for the second time in July

Published: Jul. 31, 2020 at 9:41 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - 31 aggravated assaults and 4 homicides, all taking place within the first seven months of 2020 in Roanoke.

Compared to last year, the number of aggravated assaults has nearly doubled. It’s an issue residents aren’t taking lightly.

“We have to stand up to the gangs, we have to stand up to the people that are causing the violence in our community, us as the community has to stand up,” said John English, the leader of Revaluation Power Group.

English wasn’t on the Roanoke Gun Violence Task Force, but joined for the first time Friday, introduced by leader Antwyne Calloway.

”Some of you may have in the past may have heard me speak about a gentleman I’ve worked with in the community that deals with actual gang violence and working with individuals that have been a part of the gang,” said Calloway to the group.

We sat down with English after the virtual meeting and learned why the issue of violence is so pressing for him right now.

“This violence is not going to stop because you have situations where it’s gang on gang, or you have situations where I just went through where it’s gang on regular citizens,” said English.

While he didn’t get into specifics, English told us earlier this week his brother was a victim in the 7/11 shooting that happened off Plantation Road. He leads a group that helps gang members turn their lives around but wants to see the task force take more action against the violence.

“It’s just time, man, I need to speak more on what’s going on because it’s one thing for me to try to help people but it’s another when they step right down on my turf.”

After English addressed Joe Cobb and the other members, Calloway concluded by saying English’s goal was to help bridge the gap.

“If they would like to do something, and they would like to really really stop the violence, then they have to speak to the right people,” said English.

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