'Beloved' Teacher Gunned Down Outside Home

A "beloved" teacher only a few years out of college was found shot to death just outside his home on Thursday.

Michael Echaniz, 23, was found dead in the parking lot of his San Antonio apartment complex last week. Police responded to the scene just before 8 a.m. March 10, San Antonio Police Chief William McManus told local station KSAT, and found the man riddled with gunshot wounds.

Echaniz worked as an apprentice 4th and 5th grade teacher at the Great Hearts Forest Heights school in San Antonio and graduated from Christendom College, a Catholic university in Virginia, in 2020, the same school his parents attended. His death was confirmed to students and parents in an email from Great Hearts, which referred to him as a "skilled teacher and generous soul."

Christendom College posted a message on social media in his remembrance.

"We are shocked and deeply saddened to have lost a beloved member of our school community," the Great Hearts Forest Heights statement read. "In his two years with us, Michael Echaniz faithfully served our students in and out of the classroom. He was a skilled teacher and generous soul who poured his time, talent, and energy into our community.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and students. Counselors are available on campus to support students and staff as we process this news. Police are continuing to investigate and any additional questions should be directed to SAPD. He will be deeply missed."

Witnesses to Echaniz's death told police that they saw a man in a blue hoodie fleeing the scene in the aftermath of the shooting. Police think Echaniz was trying to get to his car but died before he got inside, according to KSAT. No other information about the suspect has been released by authorities at this time.

"At this time this is still an active investigation and homicide detectives are working diligently to solve this case," the San Antonio Police Department told Newsweek in response to an inquiry.

Christendom College also released a statement on Echaniz's passing and announced that it would be holding a Holy Hour and Mass in his memory.

"While a student, he was known for his sweet nature and deep devotion as a friend," the college's statement reads. "In the classroom, he found a love for teaching, particularly in his political science and economics classes from professor Dr. Joseph Brutto. Brutto helped him discern a vocation to teaching, which he then pursued post-graduation... Echaniz will be deeply missed by the entire Christendom community and all are encouraged to pray for his soul and for his family at this time."

Update: 03/15/2021, 4:17 ET: This article has been updated with a response from SAPD.

san antonio teacher shot
A "beloved" San Antonio school teacher was found shot to death outside his apartment on Thursday. Above, a shot of the San Antonio skyline. Robert Alexander/Getty Images