Gun Violence Prevention Commission meets while Roanoke Police investigate city’s fifth homicide of the year

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Published: Mar. 8, 2022 at 10:35 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - As Roanoke Gun Violence Prevention Commission members flipped through paperwork Tuesday that lists the number of instances of people being hit with gunfire, crime scene tape was up in the city.

Tuesday afternoon, Roanoke police officers responded to a report of a gunshot wound on Panorama Avenue. The man who was shot later died.

Inside the meeting, Councilman Joe Cobb talked about trends. Most violent events for the last number of years have happened in Northwest. So far, 2022 is no exception.

“Sometimes it looks like, long as it stays there and is concentrated over there, we okay with it,” said commissioner Elliot Major. Major created most of the dialogue at the meeting, bringing up, along with Rabbi Kathy Cohen, questions about lighting in dark and blighted areas of the city. “We have some areas in the city that we definitely want to keep talking to city management about to see if there are any abilities to harden those targets, tearing down dilapidated buildings, tearing down shrubbery, making it hard for criminals to keep perpetuating this violence,” said Chris Roberts, the city’s youth and gang violence prevention coordinator.

Discussion on the role Roanoke City Schools play in the ongoing violence was also had. Commissioners agreed there needs to be more communication, as a position titled “Coordinator of Youth Development and Intervention,” has been approved.

“And then we have Chris’ team doing the same thing, and we don’t know what they’re doing. If we know what the right hand is doing, the left hand can possibly do something a little different,” said Cohen.

The meeting concluded with a commitment to start the April 12 meeting with specific goals within the prevention, intervention, restoration and response working groups.

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