Natomas Mourns Death Of Coach & Teacher


Natomas residents today continue to mourn the loss of one of its favorite sons.

Grief counselors and chaplains were on hand this morning at Natomas High School where Salvador Heredia-Arriaga coached the junior varsity football team and worked as a substitute teacher. Heredia-Arriaga, 26, was shot late Friday night when he interrupted a home-invasion robbery in progress at a friend’s home in South Natomas. He died from his injuries.

“Sal was a wonderful young man and this is a great loss to our community,” said B. Teri Burns, president of the Natomas Unified school board.

News of Heredia-Arriaga’s death spread quickly over the weekend throughout Natomas where he worked and where his mother, Dr. Sue Heredia, has served several years as a school board member. Heredia-Arriaga graduated from Natomas High School in 2001.

“Many teachers remember Sal fondly from when he was their student in our schools; many others have worked with him in recent years when he substituted in their classrooms, and in his capacity this year as the JV Coach at Natomas High,” said Cynthia Connell, Natomas Teachers’ Association president. “Many of us who know Sue as a parent, a community member and through her work as school board trustee are filled with sympathy and concern for her during this terrible time.”

Heredia-Arriaga was a product of Natomas who left only to attend UC Santa Cruz. He returned to the area intent on working with young people in the neighborhood. He was reportedly attending law school at The University of Northern California, Lorenzo Patino School of Law in Sacramento.

“Balancing school and coaching, he was an excellent example for our young men and women in South Natomas to see that you can be successful and give back to your community,” said Dennis Foster, athletic director at Natomas High School. “Coach Arriaga will be sadly missed by all whom he touched – we will get past this horrific incident, but we will never get over his passing.”

The Natomas Unified School District plans to establish a scholarship in Heredia-Arriaga’s memory.

“We offer Dr. Susan Heredia and her family our deepest sympathies,” said interim superintendent Dr. General Davie. “May she find comfort in knowing that her son touched the lives of many in his short time here, and that he has left a lasting legacy of honor, service and commitment that will forever be remembered by the Natomas community.”

Sac PD spokesperson Sgt. Norm Leong said today police detectives are actively investigating the crime.

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