City and state officials meet with Northwest Roanoke community after recent violence

Published: Sep. 6, 2023 at 10:12 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Almost a week after another homicide in Northwest Roanoke City, state and city officials met with the community in hopes of building trust and a relationship.

From January 1st to August 13th, 2023, Roanoke City Police data show 33 of the 48 gun-related incidents in which people were hit by gunfire have been in Northwest Roanoke. Two incident locations are unknown.

“Some of the neighborhoods in Northwest are particularly stressed by violent crime,” explained Roanoke City Police Department Interim Chief Jerry Stokes. “So, we definitely wanted to get out here – hear what people have to say, hear their concerns.”

And that’s exactly what the officers did. Wednesday night, dozens of Northwest Roanoke residents attended a community forum.

“I wanted to come today just to see what questions were going to be asked and really just to see how they were going to be answered,” explained FED UP Co-Founder Rita Joyce.

Attendees asked questions about gang violence, investigations, cleaning up the area, gun violence, and more.

“My main reason was I wanted to see and address the gun violence,” added Joyce. “It’s important for me to know what are they doing, how they are doing it, and what results are we going to get, because we’ve had too many this year.”

Stokes answered all the questions submitted by the public. He’s hoping this is the first step to building safer neighborhoods.

“Start to build our partnership with the neighborhoods to hopefully bring some peace to the community and reduce violence,” added Stokes.

State agencies like the Virginia Department of Corrections, the state attorney general’s office, and Virginia State Police were in attendance, as well as local city officials such as Roanoke City Fire-EMS and the city council.

“Let’s put our heads together and find out where we should focus as we go forward to not only curb gun violence but to stop it as much as possible,” said Roanoke City Mayor Sherman Lea.

Officials say they will eventually host meetings in all quadrants of the city.