Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Mourners Celebrate Life of Slain Television Cameraman

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Mourners Celebrate Life of Slain Television Cameraman

Article excerpt

ROANOKE, Va. - The scene inside a Virginia high school auditorium sounded more like a celebration of life Monday than a visitation after a death as the family of a cameraman who was slain on live TV greeted mourners at a hometown reception. Adam Ward's father, Buddy, exchanged long hugs with just about anyone he came in contact with at the stage, where the slow-moving line went past his son's open casket. Pop music softly played on the speakers.

Salem High School opened its doors to the community to honor Ward, an alumnus. The 27-year-old cameraman for Roanoke television station WDBJ-TV, along with reporter Alison Parker, were gunned down last week by a former co-worker.

The family of Ward, a 2007 graduate of the school, asked visitors to wear colors of his favorite teams, Virginia Tech and Salem High, where he played football for the Spartans on two state championship teams. His funeral is set for Tuesday at First Baptist Church in Roanoke.

Members of Salem High's football team, wearing the team jerseys, were among the first people to enter the school.

Salem High School Principal Scott Habeeb said Ward "loved life and he was truly kind to people. Habeeb was the offensive line coach when Ward played middle school football, was one of his teachers as a high school freshman and was an assistant principal for Ward's final three years of high school.

Ward's father, Charles, is a guidance counselor at the school, which Adam chose to attend even though he lived in another district.

The Ward family had stayed out of the spotlight since the Wednesday shootings. Ward and Parker had been on an early morning assignment at Smith Mountain Lake when Vester Lee Flanagan walked up and shot them and Vicki Gardner, a Chamber of Commerce official, with a 9mm Glock pistol during a live interview. Ward and Parker died at the scene and Gardner is recovering in a hospital.

They were shot down as thousands of viewers across the central Virginia community watched and the footage quickly spread to millions on social media. Flanagan shot himself as police pursued his car. He died hours later.

Tributes to Parker and Ward quickly poured in on social media. …

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