Duluth man charged in fatal shooting of St. Cloud professor

June 22, 2021 GMT

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (AP) — A Duluth man was charged Tuesday in the killing of a St. Cloud professor who was fatally shot at the door of his home in what police say was a random attack.

Jason Beckman, 45, is accused of killing 68-year-old Ed Ward about 6 a.m. Sunday. Ward was taken to a St. Cloud hospital where he died.

Beckman is charged with murder in the second degree, possession of a firearm or ammunition by a convicted felon, and theft of a motor vehicle. Judge Frederick L. Grunke set bail at $2 million with no conditions or $1 million with conditions..

Ward taught at St. Cloud State University for more than three decades.


“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,” university President Robbyn Wacker said in a statement. “He has impacted countless students, faculty and staff throughout his tenure. He will truly be missed.”

Beckman told police he wound up in Ward’s neighborhood after crashing a stolen vehicle. Beckman said he knocked on the door of Ward’s home and when Ward answered he thought he was a man who had pointed a gun at him earlier at a grocery store in nearby Waite Park. Beckman shot Ward as he was slamming the door and then shot again through the door, according to the complaint.

Beckman said he was not sure if his accusation against Ward was a delusion or not, and told investigators he was previously diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

Ward’s daughter, Amy Jones, said her dad always tried to see the best in everyone.

“He was very kind and compassionate and he had a wonderful sense of humor,” said Jones.