SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- San Diego police are searching for the killer responsible in the death of a local teacher, according to the school for which he worked.
In a letter sent to Cathedral Catholic High School families, school officials said Mario Fierro was found dead in a suspected homicide.
“Everyone in our school community mourns his loss,” school officials said. “Obviously, this is a shock. Our prayers go out to Mario’s friends and family.”
The school said, citing police, that the killer remains at large. As a result, “additional security will be posted on campus and SDPD is stepping up patrols in the area,” the school said.
The campus canceled all classes, in person and on-line, until further notice. “Parents who dropped off their students earlier today should pick them up as soon as possible,” the school said.
In a statement, spokesperson for the Diocese of San Diego Kevin Eckery said Fierro returned to CCHS in 2016 to teach social science, after graduating from the high school in 2002.
"Mario was young, vibrant, and full of life. All of us loved him," Eckery said. "He was a gifted teacher and a great human being."
An online fundraiser has been established by the Larry Himmel Foundation to help pay for any expenses related to Fierro's death.
Details of Fierro’s death were not released at this time. According to public records, Fierro resided in North Park on Kansas Street.
Hours before the campus announced Fierro’s death, San Diego police were investigating a fatal shooting on the 4500 block of Kansas Street in North Park. San Diego police have not said if Fierro’s death and the incident in North Park are connected.
According to police, officers arrived at the scene on Kansas Street to find a man on the sidewalk with a gunshot wound to the head. Despite life-saving efforts, the victim -- identified by police only as a 37-year-old Hispanic male -- was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police said the victim and suspect may have been involved in an altercation before the shooting. The suspected shooter is a Hispanic man in his 40s believed to be wearing jeans and a zip-up top. He was last seen leaving the area northbound on Kansas St. in a small, older vehicle. A detailed description of the vehicle was not immediately available.
Anyone with information is asked to call the SDPD Homicide Unit at 619-531-2293 or Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.