Roanoke City reports record high number of homicides in 2023

Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 11:18 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - After a deadly weekend of shootings in the city, Roanoke is reporting its highest level of violence in years. Police and city officials are calling on everyone to stop the shootings and come forward with information.

”Sometimes we measure a community’s vitality only by its harmful or violent acts and that’s not who Roanoke is,” Vice Mayor Joe Cobb said.

There has been a record number of 26 homicides in Roanoke City this year. 22 of those deaths have been from shootings.

Roanoke Police are investigating three shootings from this past weekend that left three people dead and two people hurt.

“Be willing to see something, say something, and then be willing to stand up in court and say ‘I saw them do this’ because that’s the way they are prosecuted and held accountable for their actions,” deputy chief Jerry Stokes said.

Of the 26 homicide investigations, 15 cases have had arrests pending indictments, or have been closed.

“It’s not the time to give up now,” Mayor Sherman Lea said. “We’ve got to stay the course.”

Roanoke’s deadly weekend comes seven days after city leaders launched Ceasefire: Victory in the Valley, an initiative calling on the community to stop the shootings. While city leaders are disappointed, they say there is still hope for change.

“Yes, it hurt that we did not complete 30 straight days, but we don’t stop our clock,” FEDUP Chaplain Bishop Jamaal Jackson said. “We may have seen two days of tragedy within our city, but we saw seven days without tragedy.”

Police say the recent shootings are not random or connected to gang activity, but come from interpersonal violence.

“That [interpersonal violence] seems to be the common denominator for our violence in 2023,” Deputy Chief Jerry Stokes said. “It looks like some of the things that were red flags in 2022, that a lot of that grant funding was directed towards addressing, anecdotally, has made a difference.”

RPD is looking for 25-year old Edward Denoyer, who is facing second-degree murder charges for Saturday night’s shooting on Melrose that killed two people.