School principal falls to death at Disneyland

Officials say a California elementary school principal committed suicide by jumping from a multistory parking structure at Disneyland.

Anaheim police reported finding a dead man at the amusement park just before 9 p.m. Saturday night. The Orange County coroner identified the man as 51-year-old Christopher Christensen, principal of William T. Newland Elementary School in Huntington Beach. His death was ruled a suicide by officials.

In a post on his Facebook page, Christensen said he had been placed on administrative leave from his job following an argument two weeks ago “which landed me in jail.” Christensen was due in court Monday after pleading not guilty to child endangerment and battery.

“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,” read the post. “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,” Fountain Valley Superintendent Katherine Stopp wrote 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.”

According to a post on his school’s website, Christensen-also known as “Mr.” C”-became the principal this year.

As a result of the incident on Saturday, Disneyland guests posted on social media that trams in the park had been shut down. Sgt. Shane Carringer, a public information officer for Anaheim police, told the Los Angeles Times that “the man” didn’t appear to have entered the park before plunging from its parking structure.

When it opened in 2000, the seven-story garage was the largest parking structure in the country. Since then, several other people have committed suicide by jumping from the structure. A 61-year-old man died in 2010, a 23-year-old man died in 2012, and a 40-year-old man died in 2016.

He is survived by his wife, three children, and two stepchildren.