Roanoke Police Chief, mayor announce Operation Street Sweeper to address spate of gun violence in the Star City

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UPDATE: 4:17 P.M.: Roanoke City Police, law enforcement officials, and community leaders are getting results from their latest operation “Street Sweeper.”

Frank Shermer a Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshall explained the public’s help is how we fight gun violence.

“If we’re getting information that will put us on these violent offenders, we absolutely want to target them and take them off the street, and put them in custody where they belong.”

Police say there were 127 aggravated assaults in 2018; there were 112 in 2019; and with three months left in 2020, there have been 132.

According to Roanoke Mayor Sherman Lea, “We must work together and reject the premise that gun violence is an acceptable response under any circumstance.”

UPDATE 12:20 P.M.: In his address on Thursday, Mayor Sherman Lea shines light on Operation Street Sweeper — a push from local law enforcement, along with federal partners, to crack down on the violence in Roanoke.

Lea notes there has been an increase in gun violence across the United States, but plans to address Roanoke’s violence with intervention, prevention, and policing policies. While arrests may make the community safer, he notes policing is not the only answer.

Roanoke Police Chief Sam Roman continues by highlighting law enforcement’s efforts in recent weeks. This includes:

  • 212 warrants served
  • 138 suspects apprehended
  • Over $3,700 seized
  • 100 grams of heroin seized
  • 458 grams of methamphetamine seized
  • 2 grams of crack cocaine seized
  • 1 car seized

Roman notes the strategic focus law enforcement has taken on criminal activity in recent weeks; rather than just serving warrants, they are focusing more on the individuals participating in gun violence.

This includes a recent arrest following a shooting on I-581. Roman says by strategically focusing on the suspect, the investigation revealed the man was part of a drug trade nexus in the region, which also led to seizing methamphetamine and two illegal guns.

Moving forward, the chief says the community must focus on advocacy and prevention programs. He adds there is more work to do to create a safer Roanoke, but this has proven to be an effective start.

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Roanoke government and law enforcement leaders are set to address the recent increase in gun violence across the Star City during a news conference on Thursday.

According to city officials, Mayor Sherman Lea, Vice Mayor Joe Cobb, Roanoke Police Chief Sam Roman, and the U.S. Marshals will also share new information about a collaboration between the Roanoke Police Department and the U.S. Marshals Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force.

The news conference is scheduled to take place at noon on Thursday, Oct. 1, underneath the Roanoke Star at the Mill Mountain Star Overlook. You can watch this news conference live here at or on the WFXR News app.

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