UPDATE, 5:30 p.m.
Albany Middle School sixth grade teacher James Izumizaki was found dead in his car Monday, in the Via Alamitos area of San Lorenzo, of an apparent suicide.
Izumizaki, 28, had been arrested last Wednesday in Albany on suspicion of committing a lewd act with a former student.
Alameda County sheriff's department spokesman Sgt. James Nelson said Monday that officers received a call sometime after 10 in the morning from a member of the deceased man's family who found Izumizaki in his car.
Nelson said the death was an apparent suicide but offered no specifics about the means in deference to the feelings of the family.
Izumizaki had been tentatively scheduled to appear in court for an arraignment October 24.
His arrest had shocked residents of Albany where the 28-year-old was a popular teacher.
Ben Chenin, 15, said "Mr. I" gave his life some structure following the divorce of his parents. "He was like a big brother. He was one of the greatest influences on my life—and he still is."
Chenin's mother, Mary Ellen Azada, said she was struggling to manage the tension between being sensitive to the needs of both Izumizaki's family and the family of the alleged victim in the accusations against him.
Original post, 3:35 p.m.
The Albany Unified School District released the following statement at 3:14 p.m. Monday. It appears below in full.
Albany Unified School District reports with great sadness that according to Albany Police Department, Albany Middle School 6th grade teacher James Izumizaki passed away. The Alameda County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the death as a possible suicide.
Albany Unified School District sent the following statement to families at 3:15 p.m. by auto-dialer, email, and by e-tree.
“This is an important message from Albany Unified School District with very sensitive information. It is with great sadness that we inform you that according to Albany Police Department, Albany Middle School 6th grade teacher James Izumizaki passed away. The Alameda County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the death as a possible suicide. We have no other information at this time. Students have not been informed by our staff. We will inform the students Tuesday, October 2nd when mental health personnel will be available on site.”
Superintendent Marla Stephenson will hold a PRESS CONFERENCE Tuesday,
October 2nd at 8:30 a.m. at Albany Unified School District, 1051
Monroe Street, Albany.