Roanoke City officials respond to ongoing gun violence

Published: Apr. 25, 2023 at 7:11 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Despite the number of shootings in the city, officials say Roanoke is safe and they’re working to bring down the violence.

Everyone agrees the gun violence in Roanoke City is an issue. But city council member Stephanie Moon Reynolds explained there is a disconnect between city leaders.

“We’ve got to relay that message to the city manager,” Moon Reynolds said. “You come up with a plan of action with the professionals that you have hired that are in public safety divisions, work with them, they are the ones with expertise.”

WDBJ7 brought the council member’s concerns of responsibility to City Manager Bob Cowell.

“There isn’t really much more you can do until people stop using guns to actually settle the disputes that in many of those instances resulted in those cases,” Cowell said. “That’s not something I can do, that’s not something police chief can do, that’s not something that council can do.”

“It’s not our role to come up with solutions,” Moon Reynolds said. “For this gun violence, it’s the manager. That’s his job.”

“Do I think that we’ve actually achieved what we set out to do? Absolutely not. Obviously, that’s not the case,” Cowell said. “We will continue to work on those issues as we progress.”

With the city’s most recent shooting, Cowell explained there are specific actions happening.

“It’s not as simple as just simply going in and shutting down a business,” Cowell said. “The Chief signed off on a request from Virginia ABC so that ABC could begin an investigation regarding the alcohol license with that particular business.”

Roanoke Police are also taking action by designating patrol units for areas prone to violence.

“We are constantly reevaluating how we deploy our patrol assets into the city of Roanoke in order to provide a safe environment, the safest environment that we possibly can for people,” Deputy Chief David Morris said. “I would not mischaracterize it that there are not enough police officers.”

Everyone agrees the community also plays a role in stopping the shootings. Community concerns are being heard.

“They want to hold us accountable,” Moon Reynolds said. “In turn, we need to hold the administration accountable.”

“I feel that I have done a satisfactory job in running this city,” Cowell said.

Roanoke police officials also said they’re encouraging more community engagement and partnership to bring down the violence.

City officials said they are going to continue to focus on prevention, intervention and enforcement.