California officials say a school principal committed suicide by jumping from Disneyland’s multistory parking structure.
It was reported by Anaheim police that a dead man was found at the amusement park just before 9 p.m. on Saturday night. According to the Orange County coroner, the deceased is 51-year-old Christopher Christensen, principal of William T. Newland Elementary School in Huntington Beach. His death was ruled a suicide by authorities.
Christensen posted on his Facebook page he had been placed on administrative leave after an argument two weeks ago “which landed me in jail.” Christensen pleaded not guilty to child endangerment and battery on Monday.
“I have made so many wonderful connections with families over the years and those who know me closely know how much I cared for my students, staff and families,” the post stated. “Please remember me for all the good I brought to the world of education.”
“Mr. Christensen has been a respected leader in [Fountain Valley School District] for over 20 years,” Superintendent Katherine Stopp said in an email to parents. “His contributions to this community are immeasurable. He was a father, husband, brother, and friend to so many. His passing leaves us devastated and heartbroken.”
Christensen-also known as “Mr. C”-became his school’s principal this year, according to a post on his website.
Disneyland guests posted on social media that trams in the park had been shut down following the incident on Saturday. According to Anaheim Police Sgt. Shane Carringer, “the man” didn’t appear to have entered the park before plunging from its parking structure.
At the time of its opening in 2000, the seven-story garage was the nation’s largest parking structure. The structure has since been used by several people to commit suicide by jumping off. In 2010, a 61-year-old man died, a 23-year-old man died in 2012, and a 40-year-old man died in 2016.
He leaves behind a wife, three children, and two stepchildren.