DINUBA, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Students and the community are mourning the loss of a Cutler-Orosi teacher who lived in Dinuba. 

50-year-old Sergio Martín was fatally shot in his home early Monday morning.

Many in the community say they are shocked this happened to Martín.

As they say, he was a loving son, friend, and inspiring educator.

“That’s the void,” said Emilio Botello, Sergio Martín’s best friend. “That’s not easy to replace if it even can be replaced.”

Emilio Botello has known Sergio Martín for 20 years.

Martín was a Spanish teacher at El Monte Middle School in Orosi.

His best friend is still trying to understand the tragedy.

“There is no one here that does not like Sergio or would like to hurt Sergio,” said Botello. “And so we can’t control what goes out there in life in the world.”

Yolanda Valdez, Superintendent of the Cutler-Orosi Joint Unified School District, went to see the Martín family earlier today, to show moral support during these difficult times.

“A happy-go-lucky teacher that students and staff connected with,” said Valdez. “He had some deep relationships with colleagues, and he just enjoyed teaching.”

The Dinuba Police Department described Martín as one of the pillars in the community and is working diligently to get to the bottom of this case.

Officers believe there is another person involved, so far one teen has been arrested as a suspect.

“We believe that he has caused, that he has police contacts, gang ties, possibly, but police contacts for sure,” said Dinuba Police Chief Abel Irarte.

For now, Botello says he and the Martín family will celebrate Sergio’s life as he would want it to be, full of love and kindness.

“What I would tell him today is, you know, like you keep being you people love you for who you are, and you know keep going strong,” said Botello. “And he would tell me the same thing. You know, he would say the same thing because he was such a great listener, and again, a soundboard for us, for us all.”

A vigil for Martín is scheduled for this Friday at 5 p.m. His loved ones say it will be at his favorite place, the Ridge Creek Dinuba Golf Club.

This case is still under investigation and the Dinuba police department asks the community to contact them if they have any information.