Crime - Sacto 911

Dead body – and gun – discovered on elementary school campus

The victim of an apparent suicide was discovered on the grounds of Mather Heights Elementary School on Thursday, along with a gun, authorities said Friday.

In an email sent to parents, Mather Heights principal Sara Parenzin said that she discovered “an unresponsive adult male near the dumpsters in the back of campus” Thursday evening, after school had been dismissed for the day. Parenzin immediately notified law enforcement, who pronounced the subject dead.

The Sacramento County coroner has identified the subject as 21-year-old Mather resident Alexander Colford and listed the cause of death as a gunshot wound. Authorities could not immediately confirm if the gun was loaded.

No staff or students reported seeing the man on campus earlier in the day. Authorities were unable to provide an estimate regarding how long the body had remained in the location before being discovered.

Folsom Cordova Unified School District spokesman Daniel Thigpen said Friday that the body was located inside of a closed dumpster enclosure in a staff parking lot at the back end of the campus, an area which is “generally out of the visibility of kids.” Thigpen said that the location is not a high-traffic area, but that Parenzin includes the enclosure in her twice-daily security sweeps.

“Sheriff’s deputies continue to investigate the incident, but there is no evidence that our school, its students or staff were ever in danger or targeted for any reason,” Parenzin said.

Thigpen said that the district makes “maintaining a safe and secure environment” a priority.

School officials enlisted a team of therapists Friday to provide counseling to students or staff who may be emotionally impacted by news of the incident.

“The school’s goal today is to maintain normalcy and stability for the kids,” Thigpen said.

If you have information about any of these people, please call 800-222-7463 or 916-443-4357, or report online at