A St. Cloud State University professor was killed Sunday morning, June 20, in an apparently random shooting as he stood in the doorway of his home, police say.
At about 6:15 a.m., 68-year-old Edward Anthony Ward was standing in the doorway of his home in the 2600 block of Island View Drive when he was shot by someone outside. He was taken to the hospital, where he later died.
Nearly an hour later, police received reports that a man was walking in the 1200 block of Fourth Avenue South with a handgun.
Officers arrived and arrested the man with the gun without incident, according to the press release issued by the St. Cloud Police Department. He was identified as Jason Robert Beckman, 45, of Duluth.
Beckman allegedly told officers that he was the one who had shot Ward.
SCSU, where Ward was a professor in the Department of Management and Entrepreneurship, identified him as the victim of the shooting Monday in a statement to the St. Cloud Times.
“This is a heart wrenching and unexpected loss for Dr. Ward’s family and friends, our university, the Herberger Business School, our students and the St. Cloud community,” St. Cloud State President Robbyn Wacker said in the statement.
Ward had worked for SCSU since 1990.
In a statement provided to KSTP-TV, Ward’s family said:
“We are shocked and saddened by the murder of our beloved Ed. He was gentle, quiet and an intelligent man who served as a professor at St. Cloud State University for over 30 years where he impacted the lives and the careers of countless students. He loved reading, bicycling and history. His greatest love, however, was his family and he leaves behind two adult children, Amy and Mark, and his lifelong partner and the mother of his children, Denise. We would like to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers during this difficult time and ask that you respect our privacy. Thank you.”
Detectives say it appears the shooting was random, and that Beckman had no connection with either Ward or the neighborhood.
Police ask anyone with information on the shooting to call the St. Cloud Police Department at 320-251-1200 or Tri-County CrimeStoppers at 1-800-255-1301 or www.tricountycrimestoppers.org.