North Park Killing

Cathedral Catholic Teacher's Fiancee Sought Court Protection Against Suspect Before Fatal Shooting but Judge Denied Request

The murder suspect had a contentious past with the fiancee of Cathedral Catholic High School teacher Mario Fierro, according to court records.

NBC 7

The fiancee of a Cathedral Catholic High School teacher killed Monday outside of his North Park home had sought protection from her ex-boyfriend, the chief suspect in that murder investigation, according to court records obtained by NBC 7. 

A judge ultimately denied the fiancee's request for protection, however, finding that the ex-boyfriend was credible at the time and not a serious threat.  

San Diego Police discovered Mario Fierro, 37, lying on the sidewalk with a gunshot wound outside of his home on the morning of Feb. 1, 2021. The next day, police said they had arrested Jesse Alvarez, 30, for the murder of Fierro

According to posts on social media, Fierro and the woman, also a teacher at Cathedral Catholic High School, were engaged to be married.

Beloved teacher and coach Mario Fierro was shot and killed in North Park. NBC 7's Dave Summers reports from a candlelight vigil held in the teacher's honor.

NBC 7 has learned the woman has a connection to Alvarez and that the pair had a contentious past. 

On Dec. 31, 2019, Fierro's fiancee filed a request for a domestic violence restraining order against Alvarez and provided the court with evidence that she said proved her life was in danger. 

According to woman's restraining order request, she said that she and Alvarez had dated for more than three years and maintained that, throughout their relationship, Alvarez was controlling, manipulative and had emotionally abused her. She also stated in the request that said she ended the relationship in September 2019. 

Once she ended things with Alvarez, she said in the court filing, his behavior became more erratic. 

In a declaration filed along with the request for the restraining order, Fierro's fiancee accused Alvarez of “cyberstalking” her using a social-media account of his mother’s. Fierro's fiancee said he was using the account to access her students’ profiles and post pictures from the past of the two together. 

“He started following social media accounts of people and organizations that I have affiliations with, such as my workplace (school,) students (minors) from the school,” the woman wrote in the restraining-order request.

Despite blocking his phone number, Fierro's fiancee said Alvarez would use different phones to contact her, calling her "20-30 times."

On Sept. 9, 2019, according to the court documents, the woman said Alvarez tried to break into her apartment with an old key after she had installed home security cameras and changed the locks. Shen then called San Diego police, who took a report, which was included in her restraining order request. 

Excerpt from the woman's request for a restraining order, obtained by NBC 7.

“I am worried about what might happen if Jesse escalates,” the woman told police. “He has made threats of suicide before, to get me back. I don’t know if he would hurt me, but I want everything documented in case he does, and I need a restraining order.” 

In December 2019, Fierro's fiancee said in her filing, she and her sister were at the California Adventure theme park when, upon exiting a ride, they spotted Alvarez. Alvarez tried to start a conversation, but the woman refused. 

“[Alvarez] spotted me and my sister as we were coming off of a ride,” the woman said in the request. “He followed me and my sister for approximately five to seven minutes, repeatedly asking me to talk with him privately.”

Fierro's fiancee continued: “He was invading my personal space, asked personal questions as to my plans over the holidays, and continued to follow us despite my requests (and the requests of my sister) to leave us alone.”

A 30-year-old man has been charged with murder in connection to the fatal shooting of a high school teacher in North Park.

“I had to leave the park as I did not feel safe and wanted to get away from [Alvarez],” reads the woman's declaration. 

Eventually, Fierro's fiancee stated in her filing, Disney park security responded and Alvarez went his separate way, but later that day, she saw him again, and he tried to talk with her. She said she had had enough.

The California Adventure encounter wasn’t the only time, she said in her court request, that Alvarez attended events uninvited. At a walk for Survivors of Suicide Loss, she said in her filing, her friends spotted Alvarez looking for her. 

“At the last minute, I decided not to attend because I was afraid he would show up,” the woman said. 

Fierro's fiancee said her friends warned her to “be careful,” according to the court documents, and said Alvarez participated in the event, holding a sign with the name of one of her relatives who had committed suicide.  

“I need this protective order for my safety and security… I am extremely afraid he will harm me,” she wrote.

Her request for a temporary restraining order was granted, and a hearing was scheduled for Jan. 22, 2020, before a judge. 

Before the hearing, Alvarez filed his response to the woman's claims, disputing each point she made, saying that he was innocently trying to win back her affection. 

“Her statement is predominantly composed of false and exaggerated statements, and she, therefore, has perjured herself,” Alvarez’s response reads. “She is intentionally acting out of spite, hate and malice in order to personally hurt me, damage my reputation, restrict my civil liberties and sabotage my career by blotting my stainless legal record with the court.” 

Alvarez claimed he went to the Disney California Adventure resort to pay back the woman some money he owed her and that his visit to her home was not an attempt to a break in but was to visit her as a friend. 

At the Jan. 22, 2020, hearing, Judge Daniel S. Belsky ultimately sided with Alvarez, dismissing the case without prejudice and denying the woman the protection from Alvarez that she sought.

“The court finds both parties to be credible and finds the evidence presented to be a ‘tie’ and the tie would be in favor of [Alvarez],” Belsky ruled. 

“[Alvarez] states that he now knows [his ex] wants nothing to do with him and he will not contact her in any way,” the minutes from the hearing state. “Based on the totality of the circumstances, [she] did not meet her burden of proof that abuse has occurred within the meaning of the Domestic Violence Protection Act.”

The statement continued: “The court believes emotions were running high … and [Alvarez] needed time to process his hurt and the reality the relationship was over.”

Attempts to reach Fierro's fiancee for this story were unsuccessful.

As a result of the request’s dismissal, no restrictions were placed on Alvarez.

Police have not yet released any information about the weapon used to kill Mario Fierro. On Tuesday, the Catholic Community Foundation of San Diego announced that a scholarship was created in Fierro's name. Contributions can be made here.

Alvarez has not yet entered a plea to the first-degree murder charge he faces. A court arraignment is scheduled for Feb. 19.

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