Community groups are coming together after a string of recent shootings in Roanoke

Published: Feb. 8, 2023 at 5:37 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Roanoke community leaders are asking residents for help and solutions after the city’s recent shootings.

Groups like RESET are going to the neighborhoods where shootings happen and asking residents what can be done to make them feel safer. One of the group’s members explained how RESET will walk up to houses, knock on doors and try to rebuild relationships hurt by gun violence.

“This takes a community to get everything back,” William Dungee said. “I never thought there would be a time where people wouldn’t feel safe to go to a store.”

Dungee lost his own son to gun violence a year ago. Now, he is a mentor with RESET to help get kids off the street.

“No parent should ever have to get a call saying that their child’s been shot,” Dungee said. “We need the community to start by caring again. We need them to commit to us.”

RESET is one of the community partners within Roanoke City that is working toward long term solutions of curbing gun violence. Even as the numbers continue to go up, the chair of the Gun Violence Prevention Commission explained progress is being made.

“It doesn’t show up as fast in the numbers, but it does show up in the changes in the ways in which people see themselves and make their way into the world,” Joe Cobb said.

Cobb explained how leaders are focused on working with schools to prevent violent acts from happening.

“We’re recognizing that a lot of these acts of violence are starting at a younger age,” Cobb said. “We’ve got to tap into that social emotional learning to give kids the tools they need.”

One Wednesday, residents told RESET members some ways to feel safer include adding more street lights and addressing the root cause of increased gun violence.

“We’re moving in the right direction, but we need the community,” Dungee said. “That’s the only way that we’re going to become safe again.”

Community members are encouraged to get involved with RESET by becoming mentors for kids or joining the neighborhood walks like the one on Wednesday.

Roanoke City Police have reported nine shootings so far in the first two months of 2023.