Roanoke City leaders respond to another weekend of violence

Published: Feb. 7, 2022 at 10:55 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - The heinous repetitive violence happening in Roanoke is not lost on city leaders.

“I’m still feeling the tragedy that occurred over the weekend and it looks as though every week or weekend we have a homicide,” said Mayor Sherman Lea.

2021 proved deadly and the start of 2022 is trending in the same direction.

After a presentation to city council members on the findings from the Youth and Gang Violence Community Assessment, Mayor Lea gave his input to those inside chambers.

“I’m just thinking to the point where I’m concerned, and one thing that seems to be happening where I hope is not happening, people are getting immune to this, we expect this to happen,” said Lea.

It’s a shared frustration.

”Nobody wants this sort of gun violence in their community,” said Vice Mayor Patricia White-Boyd.

And it’s a burden, according to Lea, that needs more attention from a specific group of people.

“I think it’s time the ministers step up. There’s some things that they can do. I’m not saying get in the streets but they can help us utilize their facilities. Some of the churches have big gyms, others have big busses and vans,” said Lea.

He added parents need to do their part, too, as ages 14-17, according to survey results, is the age group where gang recruitment is happening most often.

”The assessment is actually a tool for two things to evaluate the initiatives that we currently have in place and determine whether they’re aligning with what we heard in the assessment or to create new initiatives,” said council member Joe Cobb.

And that’s exactly what the mayor wants to see happen, and happen soon.

“I just think that its time that we put actions to words,” said Lea.

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