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Community remembers Dr. Gary Swank after double murder in Belize

'You've got one round, make it good.'

ROANOKE, Va. – Family, friends and coworkers gathered to honor the life of Dr. Gary Swank Tuesday night.

The Roanoke man was murdered in Belize last week while on a fishing expedition. Local authorities say they believe his guide was the target and Swank was "collateral damage."

Swank was a beloved member of the Carilion Clinic family, and many colleagues were there to honor him.

In Belize on Tuesday, the prime suspect in this double murder was released by police, according to local media. That man professes his innocence.

Locally, that's not getting in the way of remembering Swank's legacy.

Lifeguard 10 flew low and slow Tuesday night over St. John Lutheran Church in Roanoke County.

Hundreds of people gathered in front of the church to watch the tribute for a man who did so much for the community.

Prior to that, inside the church they celebrated the life of Swank, an innocent victim of alleged gang violence in Belize.

Family members and coworkers shared stories of Swank and promised to keep his legacy alive.

Some people in attendance didn't know Swank, but like Sen. John Edwards, came because of all the good things they heard about him.

"He's so well thought of, he's such a fine person. He's a real gentleman that has given back to the community so much. Just his ministry of being a doctor -- he was a wonderful person," said Edwards. "I did not know him, but I learned so many wonderful things about him, and I'm so sorry for his family."

Swank was with his fishing guide in a local lagoon in Belize when it all happened.

In his obituary, Swank was quoted as saying, "You've got one round, make it good." Family and friends say that's how we lived his life.

Edwards says that this is something the federal authorities are handling and is hopeful the investigation will bring justice.


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