The Latest: 6-hour visitation for cameraman wraps up

AP News
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Posted: Aug 31, 2015 8:22 PM
The Latest: 6-hour visitation for cameraman wraps up

ROANOKE, Va. (AP) — The latest on Salem High School opening its doors to the community to commemorate the life of alumnus Adam Ward, the 27-year-old cameraman for a Roanoke television station who was slain on live TV last week (all times local):

8:20 p.m.

A six-hour visitation for 27-year-old WDBJ-TV cameraman Adam Ward is wrapping up.

Even as law enforcement officers closed the entrance to Salem High School on Monday night, dozens of people were still in the slow-moving line inside.

They were waiting to get into the auditorium to view Ward's open casket and greet his family.

Outside the auditorium, an 18-foot-long table was covered with written tributes from well-wishers.

Ward and reporter Alison Parker were shot to death on live TV last week.

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5:30 p.m.

Adam Ward's casket is all things Virginia Tech.

The body of the 27-year-old WDBJ-TV cameraman, who was a fanatic Hokies fan, was dressed in a Virginia Tech cap and white shirt at his visitation Monday.

A large bouquet of Hokie orange and dark red flowers draped over the lower end of the open casket.

On a table next to the casket, mourners placed cards in front of a written tribute to Ward signed by former Salem High basketball coach Grant Smythers. To the left was a framed cartoon artwork of Virginia Tech's Hokie mascot.

Several boxes of tissues were placed along the reception line, which included Ward's parents, Buddy and Mary, and his fiancee, Melissa Ott.

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4:20 p.m.

The auditorium where Adam Ward's parents greeted mourners sounded more like a celebration of life Monday than a visitation after a death.

Pop music softly played on the speakers.

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.

The casket contained an orange Virginia Tech foam hand.

Laughter was heard at times among those talking with the family.

At the entrance to the auditorium, funeral home workers handed visitors keepsake brochures containing photos of Adam Ward and portions of his obituary.

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3:35 p.m.

The president and general manager of WDBJ-TV has arrived at the visitation for cameraman Adam Ward.

When asked by a visitor how he was, Jeffrey Marks said "I'm doing OK," in an upbeat tone, before heading toward the auditorium at Salem High School.

Mourners waited in line more than an hour to enter the auditorium during the six-hour visitation.

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3 p.m.

Salem High School Principal Scott Habeeb wore many hats as a mentor to WDBJ-TV cameraman Adam Ward.

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.

Wearing a bright orange Virginia Tech shirt, Habeeb was easy to spot at Ward's visitation Monday. He told anyone within earshot about Ward's genuine personality.

Ward's father, Buddy, retired three years ago after a long career as a counselor at the school.

Habeeb says he remembers the elder Ward admonishing his "knucklehead" son for wearing shorts to school no matter how cold the weather.

Habeeb says Adam Ward "loved life and he was truly kind to people."

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2:15 p.m.

A community reception has begun at Salem High School to honor alumnus Adam Ward, the 27-year-old cameraman for a Roanoke television station who was slain on live TV last week.

A white hearse was parked outside the school's main entrance Monday afternoon, while law enforcement officers directed traffic and guided visitors. Members of Salem High's football team, wearing the team jerseys, were among the first people to enter the school. Many visitors wore the maroon school colors of Salem High and Virginia Tech. Ward graduated from both schools.

Others on hand included U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith of Virginia and two female teachers who taught Ward in elementary school.

Ward and reporter Alison Parker were gunned down by a former co-worker. Vicki Gardner, a Chamber of Commerce official, was wounded in the attack.

Authorities said the shooter, Vester Lee Flanagan, later died of a self-inflicted wound.