“Stop the Violence” walk and vigil brings out dozens in Roanoke

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ROANOKE (WSLS 10) – Dozens of people in Roanoke spent the evening Sunday calling for peace in the city. The “Stop the Violence” walk spanned three and a half miles from Strauss Park to the Martin Luther King memorial downtown.

Grover Price has lived in Roanoke for 25 years. He says he’s had to say goodbye to many friends over that time.

“We all grew up here together since we were 2 years old. 30 year old lifelong friends that I’ve lost from right here where I’m standing at right now,” said Price.

Price planned a march into the city along Shenandoah Avenue. It’s a route he says passes four former crime scenes, each footstep bringing back memories of friends loved and lost.

“It’s just time for us to show the community the problem that it’s creating. The losses that we’re losing, the families that are being hurt, that are being torn apart,” said Price.

Dozens joined him, walking miles to the Martin Luther King statue to host a candlelight vigil.

“The candles signify peace, loss, love basically, in my opinion. Just the fallen angels, the people that we’ve actually lost in the past,” said Ta’quan Austin.

As the group watched, Price read, one by one, the many names of those lost to violence in the city. The event concluded, bringing people together in song. Members of the city’s law enforcement were also present.

“We always show up on the scene when there’s bad things going on, but I wanted to show my support from the law enforcement side, say hey, we can be a part of our community,” said Roanoke Sheriff’s Deputy Antonio Hash.

Price says he hopes his visual display of remembrance and unity inspires others to work to better their community.

“It’s our responsibility to change it, so we all just need to come together and just make a change,” said Price.

Price says to his knowledge, around 30 people have died to gun violence in Roanoke in just the last three years.

He hopes there can come a year soon where that number drops to zero.

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