Roanoke church tries to find solutions to end gun violence

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) – Gun violence continues to claim lives in Roanoke, and so far this week we’ve seen three shootings alone. But for a man, this topic is personal. He uses his experiences to try to make a difference.

Darnell Woods was only 13 when his father was shot and killed. Nothing has ever been the same for his family.

“It impacts their mentality through the trauma first and foremost. Then you have a single mom raising seven kids,” Wood said. “And my mom did a great job.”

51 years later, he still faces the death of his father.

“Every birthday that comes along. The day he dies comes around. He comes back, you know he’s still there. And you go back and relieve those moments. It impacts you. It impacts your life,” explained Wood.

But it’s that feeling that fuels his work as Community Outreach Coordinator for Hill Street Baptist Church.

Earlier this year, the church applied for a grant through the Roanoke Gun Violence Prevention Commission and received $27,000.

The focus is on helping young people.

“We need to get out there and let them know there’s a better way than pulling out a gun and shooting each other,” Wood added. “Gun violence just has to stop.”

So far he has hosted the first National Village Night in Lincoln and several community barbecues.

On Saturday, he leads a 2-mile march to end gun violence. Not only to raise awareness but to find solutions.

“We can also strategize. Bring in new ideas. Brainstorm next steps,” Wood said.

Wood thinks the key is for the churches to function as one.

“Churches are not doing enough. It can be hard to hear for some,” Wood explained. “But we have to unite. Not just one church doing something, but we all have to come together.

The march will begin at 8 am at the Macedonian Baptist Church.

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