Roanoke Mayor and Chief of Police share thoughts on recent gun violence

Published: Apr. 25, 2023 at 10:59 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares hosted an update on “Operation Ceasefire” in Lynchburg Tuesday afternoon. Roanoke Mayor Sherman Lea and Chief of Police Sam Roman were both in attendance.

“Ceasefire, part of it is designed to add additional prosecutors to really focus on that small group of people who’s causing a large amount of crime. And so what I like to see is to ensure that our Commonwealth attorney and our federal partners are able to work well together to make sure that people are being held accountable for gun violence that we see in the in the city,” said Roman.

Roman said he does not feel there’s added pressure in everyday operations to address the gun violence.

“For me, pressure to address gun violence really is a nonfactor to me, because I’m self-motivated, as well as many of our other community members. Self-motivated to ensure that we are doing everything we can within our lane to contribute to the reduction of violent crime. I’ve mentioned so many times before that successful crime reduction with specific emphasis on violent crime is an ecosystem and every piece of that ecosystem has to be working. So I think with Operation Ceasefire, that’s another step in what I believe is the right direction,” said Roman.

Lea shared his concerns with Roanoke’s most recent shooting downtown early Sunday morning.

“Early on, they were shooting, but most of the times, the person knew the victims, there was an investigation of something had agitated somebody. But here now, it seems to be getting closer to being random, where you just gonna shoot the gun and in areas where people are, they’re crowded, those kinds of things, that’s a concern I have,” said Lea.

WDBJ7 reported Tuesday some City Council members are frustrated that City Manager Bob Cowell is not involved in addressing the recent gun violence and they are potentially weighing their options of replacing Cowell.

Roman declined to comment on the matter but said, “I think the city manager obviously that we, we have done so much to try to bring solutions to the table. But again, it’s an ecosystem. No one person is responsible for its failure, nor is any one person responsible for its success.”

Lea said he had not heard that as of Tuesday afternoon but pointing the finger is not going to help find a solution.

“I think we have to stay together to work through this and stop pushing and pulling at each other. And I have not heard about asking for the city manager’s job or any of that kind of discussion. We’ve got to work together as a team, as I want to, and do those things that are necessary to make our city safe,” said Lea.