Monday, December 5 2022

To his friends at Christendom College, Michael Echaniz was a sweet, devoted friend who never had stage fright. He was in the debating society, he competed in swing and waltz dance competitions, and he performed in musicals.

It was in the classroom at Christendom College, a liberal arts college in Virginia, that Echaniz discovered a love of teaching. After graduating in 2020, he worked as a teaching assistant at Great Hearts Teaching Academy in San Antonio.

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Today, his classmates and colleagues mourn his death. In an online post, Christendom College said the 23-year-old was killed on Thursday. Details surrounding his death are limited.

As of 4 p.m. Friday, the Bexar County medical examiner had yet to identify Echaniz as the 23-year-old victim killed outside his apartment in the medical center. In the email to the Express-News, the Great Hearts spokeswoman said grief counselors would be available on campus to support students and staff.

But neither Christendom College nor Great Hearts, a charter school in the Forest Heights community, has explained how he died.

“We are shocked and deeply saddened to have lost a beloved member of our school community,” a spokeswoman for Great Hearts said in an email to the Express-News. “He was a qualified teacher and a generous soul who dedicated his time, talent and energy to our community.”

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Just before 7 a.m. Thursday, San Antonio police were called to the Eckert Heights apartments at 4801 Gus Eckert Road for reports of gunfire. There they found a 23-year-old man lying dead next to his car. Authorities did not know what led to the shooting.

The shooter fled and was not found. He wore a dark blue hoodie.

News of Echaniz’s death quickly spread to friends in Virginia. Christendom College posted a lengthy announcement on its website, describing it as “tragic”.

“Echaniz will be deeply missed by the entire Christian community and all are encouraged to pray for his soul and for his family at this time,” the school said in a press release.

According to the press release, his parents, John and Sharon Echaniz, attended Christianity. Echaniz grew up in Front Royal, Virginia, a small town just outside of Winchester.

In college, Echaniz found a love for teaching, particularly in his political science and economics classes, the school said.

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