PLACERVILLE, Calif. (CBS13) — Members of a mourning school body gathered for a somber vigil in remembrance of the principal who was fatally shot in his office Wednesday morning.

Young students and their parents came to the Louisiana Schnell Elementary campus Wednesday evening to pay their respects to 50-year-old Principal Sam LaCara, an administrator described as a caring mentor and the man who held the school together.

Jennifer Whiteley said LaCara’s character shined through Wednesday morning, just before his death, when she called to talk about her son who was involved in a fight on the playground.

“He always was ready to jump in and help,” Jennifer said. “An hour later he was shot.”

LaCara would always play with the students and recess and made it a point to get to know every child at the school, parents said.

“Sam was the best principal, he was the best person, we’re all very upset,” said one parent. “He loved our kids.”

As was his custom, LaCara was greeting children Wednesday morning as they got out of their cars.

“A loving man to every single child that was here,” another parent said.

Parents may hold another vigil on campus Thursday evening. The Placerville Union School District announced that Louisiana Schnell School, Markham Middle School and Sierra Elementary will be closed Thursday. Classes are scheduled to continue on Friday.

  1. Cassandra Reidenbach says:

    My Heart Hurts so Much, I never met Sam, but heard nothing but wonderful things about him. My Heart goes out to the whole community, and especially his wife and daughters. He will continue to watch over the kids and school from above…My neighbors girls went to Schnell, they are now in High School..I remember Tammy talking about this wonderful Principal…and the kids my daughter Graduated with went there…he was Loved my all of them…I’m certainly holding the whole family in my Heart….Much Love and Peace

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