Huntington Beach

Man Who Died in Apparent Suicide at Disneyland Parking Garage Was School Principal

Grief counselors were expected at Newland Elementary School following the death of Principal Chris Christensen.

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A man who apparently died by suicide at a parking structure at Disneyland Saturday night was identified as a 51-year-old principal of a Huntington Beach elementary school who was facing child endangerment accusations.

Christopher Christensen was a principal at Newland Elementary School. He also was a musician who taught and played throughout Southern California.

The apparent suicide was reported around 9 p.m. Saturday, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Department, which received a call about a person who fell or jumped from a parking garage at the Anaheim theme park. Police said Christensen's death appears to be a suicide.

Grief counselors were expected to be at the school Monday.

"Being in education like Chris… you meet so many people," said friend Dianna Gray. "There are people that stand out, and then there are people that just, you would never forget when you meet them. You want to be their friend. You want to work with them, work for them, work with them. He was that person for me."

Christensen was arrested Nov. 15 on suspicion of misdemeanor child endangerment and battery. He was released the next day. Jail records did not show a court date, but the Press-Enterprise reported that he was due to appear Monday.

A lengthy Facebook post Saturday night on Christensen's Facebook page mentioned charges stemming from a family dispute. The post included denials of the allegations against him.

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"Please remember me for all the good I brought to the world of education," the post said.

The school district issued a statement.

"Fountain Valley School District (FVSD) community has experienced a great loss with the passing of our beloved Principal Chris Christensen on Saturday evening," the district said. "Mr. Christensen has been a respected leader in FVSD for over 20 years. His contributions and connections to this community are immeasurable. He was a father, son, husband, brother, and friend to so many. His passing leaves us devastated and heartbroken."

Before his arrival at Newland Elementary School, Christensen was principal at Courreges Elementary School (2011-2022) and Fulton Middle School (2006-2011) and Moiola K-8 School (2003-2006) He also served as a middle school instrumental music teacher in the Long Beach Unified School District.

According to a post on the Newland web site, Christensen is a father of three children, ages 19 to 26.

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