Residents of Roanoke’s Old Southwest neighborhood are reeling after a pair of shootings only eight days apart.
Some say they’re scared to even go outside; others are considering leaving altogether.
“You know, it’s one thing to be a good neighbor, and it’s one thing to be a nosy neighbor. But right here, right now, when you start talking about lives, that’s a different matter,” said George Gibson, who lives near the property.
He says the sound of Sunday’s shooting was unmistakeable.
“In the middle of the night, you hear seven or eight shots go off, and it sounds like cannons. It’s enough to make anyone jump up,” he said.
Gibson describes seeing the two victims laying on the ground, hearing screams for 9-1-1, and listening to the sound of screeching car tires, something he and other neighbors assume points to a drive-by.
“Because when you pull the trigger, bullets go everywhere. A lot of times, lead ain’t got to name on it,” he said.
He says – for that reason, and for the fear of a potential retaliation shooting – he’s seen almost no one jogging or walking dogs recently.
He adds that some neighbors are now choosing to talk on the phone instead of in person.
“And it’s really changed the neighborhood. It’s made it really tense, and things are uneasy around here,” he said.
Gibson and many other residents call the area ‘quiet,’ and say this sort of violence is unprecedented.
In fact, in the five months leading up to the first shooting, there were only 13 criminal incidents of any kind within a 1,000-foot radius, according to data from CrimeMapping.com.
“And everything is changing, and it’s not changing for the good, it’s changing for the worse,” he said.
Gibson says he hopes the community will band together soon to restore the peace, which he says is the only solution to a growing problem.