Family, community remembers sailor killed in Pensacola shooting
RICHMOND HILL, Ga. (WTOC) -The City of Richmond Hill took the time to recognize the death of one of their on Sunday.
21-year-old Airman Apprentice Cameron Walters was one of the three sailors that were killed in a shooting at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola on Friday.
The other two victims of the shooting have been identified as 23-year-old Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson of Coffee, Alabama and 19-year-old Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham from St. Petersburg, Florida.
Richmond Hill posted to Facebook that they “feels the loss profoundly of these three sailors and grieves with the family and friends of the deceased.”
12 others were injured in the shooting, including two sheriff’s deputies that responded.
Cameron’s brother Mason says Cameron inspired him, so much so that he now has plans to also join the Navy.
“Every time he would walk into a room and smile, the whole room would smile,” said Mason.
Cameron’s father Shane Walters, says joining the Navy became a dream of Cameron’s. After having served in the Navy himself, Cameron was following in his footsteps. Walters says when Cameron graduated boot camp the look on his face said ‘look at me dad, I’m just like you.’
“He was doing what he wanted to do and he was doing a great job. I was more proud of him than I’ve ever been.”
Walters, who didn’t want to go on camera, says it took 15 hours before they were notified about Cameron’s death. One of the many concerns he says his family has about the incident.
“All day we were trying to get a hold of him and we couldn’t," he said. "The Navy showed up at 9:30 on Friday night to tell us.”
Mason says his brother's character was that of a true inspiration. He says he idolizes the determination Cameron had to be who he wanted to be and that he wouldn't have had it any other way.
“I’m sure, even knowing what would’ve happened to him, if he were to go back he’d still do it over and over again,” Mason said.
A life gone too soon, but he paved a path for his loved ones. Mason says he has plans to also join the Navy.
“I want to pick up and finish off what he started.”
Cameron recently passed his ‘watch quals.’ His father says he was so proud.
Other family members said Cameron had the best heart and a genuine soul.
"The guy that shot him could've came up to him afterwards and apologized and he would've accepted the apology."
The flag in their front yard was flying at half staff. In honor of his memory and the memory of the two other sailors who stood brave in the face of evil.
“I’m positive that he did what he thought was best.”
Walters graduated from the Effingham County School System. He attended Ebenezer Elementary kindergarten through 2nd grade, Rincon Elementary for 3rd through 5th grade, Ebenezer Middle 6th through 8th and Effingham County High School 9th through 12th.
“For Cameron he was just man, he was just a pleasure to be around and pleasure to teach,” said Henry Dickerson, ECHS teacher.
Even in the classroom, teachers who had the pleasure of having him in their classroom all agree that he was a student who made a lasting impression.
“Cameron was a lot of fun he was a bright kid with a lot of personality, great sense of humor, great smile, he was really kind hearted and he loved his family,” said Rebecca Doty, Richmond Hill High School teacher.
Cameron graduated from the Effingham County School System but also split time in Richmond Hill with his father and stepmother.
“We may not remember names I see students all the time out and about at malls or Walmart or wherever, and you can look at a kid and you can remember their face but you can’t always remember names, but I definitely remember Cameron’s boyish face and the smile on his face,” said Jennifer Hayes, ECHS teacher.
While Cameron’s death is definitely one that hits home, Richmond Hill Mayor Russ Carpenter says the community is already coming together to provide support for his family.
“Richmond Hill is a patriotic community and when stuff like this happens even a tragedy such as this you can just see and feel the togetherness the patriotism as everybody comes together,” said Carpenter.
Mayor Carpenter says they plan to hold a processional when he is brought home.
The shooting remains under investigation.
Carpenter teaches Cameron’s younger siblings. He says they will be asking the governor to lower the flags on the day of his funeral.
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