Roanoke leaders work with downtown businesses to improve safety as gun violence rises

ROANOKE, Va. – Since a shooting in a crowded downtown Roanoke just over two weeks ago, city leaders are working to address the rise in gun violence.

Safety is a top concern for small businesses downtown like Ernie’s.

“Shootings happen everywhere, unfortunately, we’re no different,” Ernie’s Co-Owner Scotty Smith said.

City council member Joe Cobb was part of a meeting with more than three dozen business owners to address safety concerns shortly following the shooting.

“We want to make sure that businesses throughout our city have input and can be a part of the solution,” Roanoke City Councilor Joe Cobb said.

Cobb says one of the top concerns he heard was although there were at least nine police officers downtown at the time of the shooting, it still happened.

“There’s kind of, kind of this strange feeling that the people who are doing the shooting don’t really care, but the businesses care,” Cobb said.

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Cobb also leads the city’s gun…

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