Since it began over three years ago, Roanoke’s gun violence prevention commission has been a frequent target of criticism — including from elected officials largely sympathetic to its mission.
“All I see is gun violence increasing in the Black neighborhoods,” Councilwoman Stephanie Moon Reynolds said. “And every time we talk about a program, every time we talk about an initiative getting ready to start, ‘This is what we’re going to do,’ another shooting occurs.”
In recent months, Mayor Sherman Lea and other Council members have questioned the commission over its grant spending and efficacy. Candidates in the 2022 City Council race blasted the group for not focusing on how to immediately curb violence. The commission has been the subject of a city audit over an upscale dinner and museum trip, as well as recent controversy over $23,000 in estimated costs for a citywide youth talent show.