SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Students at a Natomas elementary school are in mourning after one of their fellow classmates was allegedly murdered by his father Tuesday evening.
“I wanted to pray for Matthew’s family and for Matthew, and I hope he rests in peace,” said Arianny Ravelo as she visited a growing memorial for the boy.
Ravelo, 12, went to school with 9-year-old Hernandez at Jefferson Elementary.
“My teacher was crying. We had an assembly before school, nothing really, just everybody was terrified of it,” she said.
The school is just blocks from the home on Atrisco Circle where Matthew, a fourth grader, was brutally murdered with a hatchet by his father Phillip Hernandez, say police.
“No kid deserves to die that way,” said one father.
“Absolutely heartbreaking,” said another parent.
While parents reacted, their thoughts immediately went to the students.
Natomas Unified School District Assistant Superintendent Adrian Palazuelos says they’re doing everything they can to help students.
“Our focus right now is making sure our students, staff, and, most importantly, the family is getting the support that they need during this very difficult time,” said Palazuelos.
It’s a hard thing to try to explain to any child.
“I think any time you have a loss of life, where any family member is involved, it is going to make it that much more difficult,” said Palazuelos.
But one thing a child can understand is how unfair it can be.
“It’s just not right. A 9 year old, it’s just not right; it just tears me to talk about it,” said Ravelo.
A family member told CBS13 that Phillip had a history of methamphetamine use and recently relapsed, saying it may be an explanation for his behavior. However, police have not said if that was a factor in this case.