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Victim in North Park shooting identified as 37-year-old Cathedral Catholic High School teacher

Police said they received 911 calls about the shooting shortly after 7:10 a.m. on Kansas Street

A 37-year-old man remembered as a “gifted teacher” at Cathedral Catholic High School was identified by school officials as the victim of a fatal shooting early Monday, Feb. 1, in North Park.

Mario Fierro, 37
(Courtesy photo)

Police said they found a man suffering from an apparent gunshot injury on the sidewalk of Kansas Street near Monroe Avenue around 7:10 a.m. after getting 911 calls from people reporting they heard gunshots.

Officers performed CPR on the man until medics arrived but he died before he could be taken to a hospital.

The Diocese of San Diego released a statement identifying the victim as Cathedral Catholic teacher Mario Fierro. The shocking news prompted school officials to cancel classes for three days at the Carmel Valley campus and those held online .

“Everyone in our school community mourns his loss,” diocese spokesman Kevin Eckery said. “Mario was young, vibrant and full of life. All of us loved him.”

Fierro taught social studies at Cathedral Catholic, where he had worked since 2016. Taking the job at Cathedral was a bit of a homecoming for Fierro, who had graduated from University High School in 2002 when it was located in Linda Vista. University was renamed Cathedral Catholic when it transitioned to its Carmel Valley campus in 2005.

“Mario graduated from CCHS/University High School in 2002 and returned to teach social science there starting in 2016,” Eckery said. “He was a gifted teacher and a great human being. He also served as the Athletic Director at Notre Dame Academy.

“Obviously, this is a shock. Out of respect to Mario’s memory, all classes, in person and online are canceled until Thursday... Please remember Mario and his family in your prayers.”

In December, the high school’s official Instagram account announced Fierro and another teacher at the school were engaged, posting a photograph of the pair smiling together on a beach.

The Larry Himmel Neighborhood Foundation — a charity named after the late San Diego humorist Larry Himmel — set up a fund to raise money for Fierro’s funeral. It had raised more than $9,000 of its $20,000 goal as of Monday evening.

The school said it planned to make grief counseling available for students, faculty and staff.

Because an arrest has not been made in the case, the school plans to post additional security on campus, where students are attending on a hybrid model, with some instruction on campus and some at home through online teaching.

Eckery said San Diego police also would be “stepping up patrols” in the area.

Homicide detectives released few details about their investigation. Police did not release the name of the victim, saying they wanted to wait to make sure family members were notified of the death first.

“It is early in the investigation and little is known about the circumstances surrounding the man’s death,” homicide Lt. Andra Brown said in a statement.

Brown said the victim may have been involved in an altercation with a man prior to the shooting. The suspect was described as Hispanic, in his 40s and wearing jeans and a zip-up top. The man was last seen driving north on Kansas Street in a small, older vehicle.

Anyone with information about the incident was asked to call the homicide unit at (619) 531-2293 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.

— Karen Kucher is a reporter for The San Diego Union-Tribune


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