Web Staff

On December 3, 2023, Roanoke Police responded to the 1600 block of Lawrence Ave SE at approximately 11:30 a.m. for a well-being check on an individual. Officers located the adult male victim with what appeared to be critical stab wounds in the residence. Roanoke Fire-EMS pronounced the man deceased on scene. It’s unknown exactly when the homicide occurred, but it’s believe to have been as early as mid-week. Roanoke Police almost immediately identified a suspect in the homicide investigation and began working to locate him.

 

At approximately 4:00 p.m., officers observed the suspect walking in the 3000 block of Melrose Ave NW and attempted to stop the man to speak with him. The suspect produced a firearm and fired towards the officers. Multiple shots were exchanged between Roanoke Police Officers and the suspect.

 

One Roanoke Police Officer was struck by gunfire. That officer was transported to LewisGale Medical Center by Roanoke Fire-EMS for treatment of what appeared to be serious and life threatening injuries. The suspect was also struck by gunfire and was pronounced deceased by Roanoke Fire-EMS personnel.

 

In accordance with department policy, Virginia State Police were notified and will be investigating this incident. The officers involved will be placed on administrative leave, per department policy. Virginia State Police will be releasing further updates to this investigation.

 

 

Virginia State Police is investigating a single-vehicle crash, which resulted in a fatality. The crash occurred Monday (Nov 27) at 4:28 p.m. on Route 11, one quarter of a mile north of Brughs Mill Road in Botetourt County.

A 2004 Jeep Liberty was traveling north on Route 11, when the vehicle ran off the right side of the roadway and struck a support pillar of a dwelling, the vehicle continued into the woods and struck a tree.

The driver of the Jeep was identified as Kimberly Ann Painter, 63, of Buchanan, Va. Ms. Painter was not wearing her seatbelt and died at the scene.

The crash remains under investigation.

Statement from Roanoke City Police : Roanoke Police received a 911 call of an active shooter at the Hotel Roanoke early this morning. Additional officers were on duty Downtown due to the planned Drumstick Dash and immediately responded to the hotel. The hotel was thoroughly searched; officers did not locate any evidence of a shooting or anyone injured. It appears that this was a false call and there was no danger to hotel occupants or anyone in the Downtown area. The Roanoke Police Department takes these types of calls very seriously and investigates them to the fullest extent. We will continue to investigate this incident and place charges as appropriate for making a false 911 call. The Drumstick Dash was delayed while officers made sure the area was safe, but now will continue as planned.
Statement from Hotel Roanoke: Roanoke City Police responded to a call about an active shooter on November 23 at The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center. Law enforcement determined this is a hoax and Hotel Roanoke Management has been informed by Hilton Worldwide that similar calls were perpetrated on other hotels in the past week. The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center would like to thank the Virginia State Police, Roanoke City Police, Roanoke Fire & EMS for their quick response.

Previous: Hotel Roanoke was  reportedly locked down for a time this morning. We have not received confirmation from Roanoke Police  about what led to that lockdown and heavy police presence at the hotel.  We will provide more information when it becomes available.

On Wednesday, November 8th at 1:31 p.m., Roanoke Fire-EMS responded to a reported structure fire in the 1500 block of Maiden Ln SW. First arriving units found the residents of the dwelling self-extricating. Upon investigation, Fire-EMS personnel located a small fire in the kitchen quickly extinguished it. Roanoke Fire-EMS transported three individuals to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, and rescued one cat from the residence. No injuries to Fire-EMS personnel were reported. The estimated damages to the structure and its contents is approximately $30,000. The fire was deemed accidental.

Photo: RoCo Fire & Rescue

Roanoke County emergency crews responded to the Sakura restaurant in the 5400 block of Williamson Road, following reports of a fire. When they arrived on scene this morning, crews found heavy smoke coming from the roof of the restaurant which was unoccupied at the time. The fire was brought under control in about one hour. There were no injuries.

NEWS RELEASE: Roanoke County Fire and Rescue responded at 2:10 a.m. on Tuesday, November 7, 2023, to the 5400 block of Williamson Road, for the report of a commercial structure fire. Units from Station 1 (North County) were first on the scene and reported heavy smoke showing from the roof of a restaurant and marked it a working fire. The restaurant was unoccupied at the time of the fire. The fire was brought under control in about one hour. There were no injuries. We appreciate the assistance of Roanoke Fire and EMS on this call. The Roanoke County Fire Marshal’s Office is on scene to investigate a cause and provide a damage estimate.

On October 28, 2023 at approximately 10:10 p.m., Roanoke Police were patrolling the area of 10th Street and Grayson Avenue NW when they heard several shots fired nearby. As officers began to respond to that area, they were notified by the City of Roanoke E-911 Center of a motor vehicle crash in the 1600 block of Rugby Blvd NW. Responding officers located a vehicle that had crashed into a utility pole in front of a residence in the area. Officers did not locate a driver or any occupants of the vehicle at the scene of the crash.

 

Minutes later, officers were notified that a person with a gunshot wound was at a residence in the 1700 block of Grayson Avenue NW. Officers located an adult male victim with what appeared to be a non-life-threatening gunshot wound on the front porch of the residence. Roanoke Fire-EMS transported the man to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital for treatment.

 

Preliminary investigation indicates that the male victim was driving the vehicle when he was struck by gunfire, which led to the crash. Further details about what led to the shooting are limited at this time. No suspects have been located and no arrests have been made regarding this investigation.

 

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call (540)344-8500 and share what you know. You can also text us at 274637; please begin the text with “RoanokePD” to ensure it’s properly sent. Both calls and texts can remain anonymous.

CHARLOTTESVLLE, Va. – A federal grand jury returned an indictment this week charging the former chief operating officer of area pain clinics with three conspiracy counts for her alleged involvement in health care fraud and illegal drug distribution.

Jennifer Ann “Jen” Adams, 50, of Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, is charged with one count of conspiring to commit health care fraud, one count of conspiring to distribute medically illegitimate Schedule II controlled substances, and one count of conspiring to use the DEA registration number of another.

“We face a moment in our country where more than 100,000 of our fellow Americans die each year from drug overdoses,” United States Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh said. “We must do all we can to support those battling addiction disorders and prosecute those who prey on this disease.”

“My office’s commitment to holding bad actors accountable for their role in exacerbating the opioid epidemic remains unyielding. With the support of our federal partners, Virginia will continue to prosecute those who take advantage of their fellow citizens for their own selfish benefit, decimating lives in the process,” said Attorney General Jason Miyares.

“Our top priority is combatting the current fentanyl-fueled poisoning crisis and related violence in our communities, especially because many of the people who died from fentanyl had no idea they have even taken it. Healthcare providers are responsible for prescribing and dispensing medications to meet the health needs of our citizens, while being vigilant for any signs of controlled substance diversion or misuse. Our team is committed to protecting all Americans’ safety and health, including ensuring that all licensed professionals comply with the law and report dangerous behaviors,” mentioned Jarod Forget, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Washington Division.

“Health care professionals who exploit opioid addiction for their own financial gain do so at the risk of endangering their patients as well as undermining federal health care programs and public health efforts to address the opioid epidemic,” said Maureen Dixon, Special Agent in Charge with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General. “We will continue working with our law enforcement partners to ensure that bad actors are held accountable for such egregious disregard for patient safety and well-being.”

According to court documents, Adams served as the chief operating officer (COO) and practice manager for several pain clinics throughout Central and Southwest Virginia. These clinics were located in Lynchburg, Madison Heights, Woodlawn, Blacksburg, and Christiansburg.

The clinics represented themselves as largely focused on pain management, which involved the prescribing of Schedule II opioids, as well as opioid addiction treatment, which involved prescribing Suboxone and other drugs.

The indictment alleges that Adams permitted medical providers who lacked DEA registration numbers to use the registration numbers of others. She did so by instructing employees to continue to use the registration numbers of doctors who were not present and by assisting in making payments to doctors who were not present for the use of their registration numbers.

Adams was aware when clinic employees knowingly wrote prescriptions for Schedule II and Schedule III controlled substances to patients who exhibited warning signs of drug abuse, drug addiction, and drug diversion.

In addition, Adams allowed employees who lacked medical training, experience, and licensing to provide medical treatment and to make and influence medical decisions.

Adams was initially arrested in South Carolina in early September on a criminal complaint.

The Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Office of the Inspector General, the Virginia State Police, and the Virginia Attorney General’s Office – Medicaid Fraud Control Unit are investigating the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys S. Cagle Juhan and Jason M. Scheff, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Janine M. Myatt, Assistant Attorney General with the Virginia Attorney General’s Office, are prosecuting the case.

The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the public’s assistance in locating a missing adult and her children. Lauren Cook and her children were last seen on September 5th, 2023 in Franklin
County. Since then, communication efforts with Lauren have been unsuccessful. If anyone has any information on the whereabouts of Lauren Cook and her children, please contact the Office of the Sheriff at 540-483-3000.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lauren Elizabeth Tousa Cook
30 Years Old, 5’1”, Long Brown Hair, Brown Eyes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Cook
7 Years Old
Blue Eyes and Blonde Hair

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hannah Cook
5 Years Old
Brown Eyes and Blonde Hair

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elijah Cook
2 Years Old
Blue Eyes and Blonde Hair

The Institute for Policy and Opinion Research (IPOR) at Roanoke College interviewed 702 adult residents of Virginia between Aug. 6 and Aug. 15, 2023, in a survey of public attitudes related to national
political anxiety, satisfaction with democracy, and trust in governmental institutions. The survey has a margin of error of 4.20%.

Approval, Favorability, and Directions of Virginia and Nation

Virginians’ approval of Gov. Glenn Youngkin and President Joe Biden remains approximately the same as our most recent poll in May, with 51% of Virginians approving of the way Youngkin is handling his job as governor and 40% approving of the way Biden is handling his job as president. The percentage of Virginians who believe things are generally on the wrong track in Virginia and the nation remains stable from our last poll, with 44% reporting that things are on the wrong track in Virginia and 73% reporting that things are on the wrong track in the nation. As for the legislatures at the national and state levels, 18% of Virginians approve of the way Congress is handling its job and 44% approve of the way the Virginia General Assembly is handling its job. The approval rating for the General Assembly has dropped about six points since our last poll in May. Finally, with all seats up for grabs in the General Assembly this November, approximately 55% of Virginians say they are at least somewhat closely following the legislative elections coming up this November.

Virginians’ favorability ratings for key political figures such as Youngkin, Biden and former President Donald Trump also remain stable from our last poll. Approximately 48% of Virginians report a favorable impression of Youngkin while 41% report an unfavorable impression. At the national level, 43% and 30% of Virginians report favorable impressions of Biden and Trump, respectively, while 53% and 65% report unfavorable impressions. We also asked Virginians about their impressions of the U.S. Supreme Court for the first time since our November 2022 poll, and the court’s favorability and unfavorability ratings remain about the same at 42% and 51%, respectively.

As we have reported before, there are substantial partisan gaps in Virginians’ attitudes, including 47- and 54-point gaps in Youngkin’s approval and favorability ratings, 70- and 75-point gaps in Biden’s approval and favorability ratings, and a 67-point gap in Trump’s favorability rating. These gaps also appear in Virginians’ attitudes about the direction of the nation (35-point gap) and favorability rating of the U.S. Supreme Court (44-point gap).

2024 Republican Nomination and Potential General Election Matchup

The Roanoke College Poll continued measuring Virginians’ opinions about the current Republican presidential nomination race, including who they would most prefer to be the Republican candidate for president in 2024. We provided survey respondents an updated field of candidates based on recent national polling, including Trump, Ron DeSantis, Chris Christie, Nikki Haley, Mike Pence, Vivek Ramaswamy and Tim Scott. Although he has not entered the race, we also included Youngkin in the list of candidates again.

Trump maintains a commanding lead of 47% as the first choice among self-reported Virginia Republicans, followed by DeSantis at 13% and the rest of the candidates in single digits. While Trump’s level of support remains about the same as our last poll, the percentage of Republicans reporting DeSantis as their first choice has dropped by 15% since our last poll in May. We also asked Virginians to report their second-choice candidate for the Republican nomination, where the results showed a more competitive field. Approximately 19% of Republicans reported DeSantis as their second choice, followed by Trump (17%), Ramaswamy (17%), Youngkin (14%), Scott (9%), Pence (8%) and Haley (6%).

Looking ahead to the 2024 presidential election, we asked Virginians who they would vote for in a hypothetical matchup between the two parties’ leading nominees. Biden leads Trump by about nine points at 51% to 42%, which is a drop from his 16-point lead we reported in our May poll. Looking at a breakdown by party identification, while both Biden and Trump have solidified support among Democrats and Republicans, respectively, our poll finds that Biden has a 21-point advantage among independents at 55% to 34%. We also asked Virginians, if Biden and Trump are the party nominees in 2024, whether they would consider voting for an independent candidate for president in 2024. Approximately 47% of Virginians said they would consider an independent candidate while 50% said they would not. Looking at the results by party identification, 54% of independents said they would consider voting for an independent presidential candidate.

Trump Indictments

We also asked Virginians for their opinions about three of the now four indictments facing Trump. The percentage of Virginians who reported hearing or reading a lot or some about former President Trump being indicted was 82% in the case involving allegations about classified documents, 77% in the case involving allegations about hush money payments, and 84% in the federal case involving allegations about the 2020 presidential election. For each of these cases, we asked Virginians whether they think Trump did something illegal, did something unethical but not illegal, or did nothing wrong. A majority of Virginians reported that they think Trump did something illegal in the cases involving classified documents (54%) and the 2020 election (51%), while about a third reported that they think he did something illegal in the case involving hush money payments (34%). There are substantial differences between Democrats and Republicans in these responses, including 70- and 72-point gaps in beliefs about whether Trump did something illegal in the classified documents and 2020 election cases, respectively, and a 54-point gap in beliefs about whether Trump did something illegal in the hush money payments case. Among independents, 64% reported that he did something illegal in the classified documents case, 33% reported he did something illegal in the hush money payments case, and 58% reported that he did something illegal in the 2020 election case.

Issues in Virginia and Nation

We also asked Virginians for their opinions on a range of public policy issues. First, on the issue of abortion, approximately 86% of Virginians think that abortion should be legal in at least some cases. Since the last time we measured this in November 2022, the percentage who think it should be legal in all cases is down six points and the percentage who think it should be legal in some cases is up five points. Second, on the issue of climate change, 74% of Virginians think that climate change is a great deal or some threat to the country’s well-being, while 64% think that climate change is having at least some effect on their local community. Third, on the issue of education, 44% of Virginians think that K-12 schools are having a positive effect on the way things are going in Virginia, while only 38% think that K-12 schools are having a positive effect on the way things are going in the country. Fourth, on the issue of student loan debt and forgiveness, 47% think that people who owe student loan debt should be paying their debt now, while 49% think that the debt should be deferred.

We asked Virginians for their opinions about recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions about the Biden administration’s student loan forgiveness program, the use of race in college admissions processes, and whether a wedding website designer can deny services to same-sex customers. Approximately 34% of Virginians approve and 44% disapprove of the court’s decision in the student loan case, while 46% approve and 33% disapprove of the court’s decision in the race and college admissions case. About 34% of Virginians approve of the court’s decision in the wedding website and same-sex customers case, while 45% disapprove of the decision.

Satisfaction with Democracy and the Election Campaign

IPOR is partnering with Dr. Matthew Bergman and Marymount University’s Center for Professional Ethics and Social Responsibility to measure the public’s satisfaction with democracy, trust in governmental institutions, and attitudes about campaign messaging. IPOR will field a series of questions about these topics in this year’s surveys.

The Roanoke College Poll asked Virginians’ opinions about their satisfaction with democracy and their exposure to political campaigns. On a 10-point scale, Virginians were overall more satisfied with how democracy works within the state (6.2) and their city or counties (6.3) than in the nation overall (5.1). While the state and city/county values are similar to our results from May, the level of satisfaction with the nation overall has slightly dropped by 0.2. There were notable party differences between these. On all three measures, Virginia Democrats had notably greater satisfaction than Virginia Republicans, with independents in the middle. At the national level, this difference was most stark, with Democrats having 0.9 greater satisfaction than Republicans. This drops to 0.6 greater at the local level and only 0.2 at the state level. Regionally, those living in the Shenandoah Valley are the least satisfied with the way democracy works at the country level while those in Northern Virginia and Southside are the most satisfied. At the state level, Southwest Virginia and Shenandoah Valley are the most satisfied while the Central Region around Richmond is the least satisfied. Such differences suggest that the underlying dynamics of the public’s satisfaction with democracy differs when they are asked about their national versus state level satisfaction.

With the upcoming elections, we also asked Virginians if they have noticed any advertisements related to political campaigns. About 55% of our respondents recalled seeing some sort of campaign advertisement. Of these, 22% recall seeing a positive advertisement while 50% recall seeing one that was negative. Respondents were also asked about the topics that were covered in the advertisement. About 60% said that the topic was related to a candidate’s competence or character while only 30% noted the focus was on an issue or specific policy. The ads were moderately memorable such that 44% of respondents were able to recall information contained in the ad, with many respondents reporting how they did not appreciate the attacks contained therein or questioned the veracity of the information provided.

Analysis

“Virginians’ attitudes about the direction of Virginia and the country remain mixed yet stable,” said Bryan Parsons, senior political analyst at IPOR. “This is also true in their approval and favorability ratings for political figures like Youngkin, Biden and Trump. With that said, partisanship continues to shape the way Virginians evaluate key political figures and events.”

“As far as the Republican presidential nomination process goes, Trump maintains a commanding lead over the rest of the Republican field. While most Virginians have heard at least some news about Trump’s indictments over the past few months, that doesn’t seem to be affecting his popularity for the Republican nomination.”

“Virginians are split in their opinions of Trump’s indictments. While a majority believes he has done something illegal in the cases involving allegations about classified documents and the 2020 presidential election, nearly a third believe he has either done nothing wrong or has done something unethical but not wrong in those cases. Only a third of Virginians believe he did something illegal in the case involving hush money payments.”

“The takeaway from this poll is that partisanship continues to shape Virginians’ views on everything from the direction of Virginia and the country to positions on key issues in public policy. There are substantial partisan gaps in attitudes on issues such as abortion, education, student loan debt, climate change and recent decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court. Our poll provides more evidence of the depths of polarization in American politics.”

Methodology

Interviewing for the Roanoke College Poll was conducted by The Institute for Policy and Opinion Research at Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia, between Aug. 6 and Aug. 15, 2023. A total of 702 completed interviews came from random telephone calls to 410 Virginians, and 292 responses were drawn from a proprietary online panel of Virginians. Telephone interviews were conducted in English. Cellphones constituted 58% of the completed phone interviews. Marketing Systems Group provided the telephone dialing frame and Lucid, LLC facilitated the online panel.

Questions answered by the sample of 702 respondents are subject to a sampling error of plus or minus approximately 4.20% at the 95% confidence level. This means that in 95 out of 100 samples like the one used here, the results should be at most 4.20 percentage points above or below the figure obtained by interviewing all Virginians with a home telephone or a cellphone. Where the results of subgroups are reported, the sampling error is higher.

Quotas were used to ensure that different regions of the commonwealth were proportionately represented. The data were statistically weighted for gender, race and age. Weighting was done to match Virginia data in the 2021 one-year American Community Survey (ACS). The design effect was 1.29; the reported margin of error above reflects this design effect.