Jenna Gazzola was an "outstanding teacher" who taught adult learners at the St. Charles Adult and Continuing Education Centre on the Mountain, says a local school board chair. And she'll be deeply missed.
Gazzola, 34, was killed in her apartment on Forest Avenue on Monday. A man living in a neighbouring apartment has been charged with first degree murder in her death.
Gazzola was "an outstanding teacher and wonderful person," said Pat Daly, chair of the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board.
"I can tell you the family are equally as wonderful. They're deeply Catholic and good, good people."
Hamilton Police say Gazzola was found dead just after 10:30 a.m. on Monday. It happened at 100 Forest Ave., apartment 902, in Hamilton.
Det. Dave Oleniuk said the superintendent of the building found Gazzola's dog wandering the hallways and was eventually led back to her apartment.
Police say they were called to the scene by paramedics and found Gazzola dead when they arrived at the apartment.
While there are no obvious signs of a struggle in the hallway in front of her apartment, Oleniuk said the door to her unit was "forced in."
'Our entire system is in shock upon hearing the news.' - Pat Daly, Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board
A post-mortem exam is scheduled for Tuesday.
A 27-year-old man who lives in apartment 908 has been charged with first degree murder.
Gazzola was related to long-time Guelph Police officer and chair of the Wellington Catholic District School Board, Marino Gazzola.
The Gazzola family was reached by phone on Tuesday afternoon, but the person who answered said the family wasn't ready to speak publicly about Jenna.
Teacher was well-loved by many
Gazzola was known in the Hamilton and Guelph community and was well-loved by many. Family members and others who knew her have expressed their grief on social media.
Incredibly heartbreaking to learn of Jenna Gazzola... Very sad.— Ryan Pembleton (@Rype2) April 19, 2016
@jennagazzola "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as your my little cousin, forever friends we will be"— Brittany (@brittanygazzola) April 19, 2016
At St. Charles, the Catholic board crisis response team was on site on Tuesday, and "will remain as long as it's needed," Daly said. Gazzola had been a teacher with the board for about five years.
"Our entire system is in shock upon hearing the news," he said. "Jenna's family and the St. Charles community are in all of our thoughts and prayers."
Oleniuk said the accused was arrested by officers on Monday afternoon, picked up "at the scene" and treated medically when arrested. Oleniuk would not elaborate on the injuries of the accused man.
Oleniuk said the accused lived down the hall, "but there's nothing to suggest they were anything more than neigbours."
Even though the suspect is in custody, police are still canvassing the building and gathering evidence. Oleniuk said officers will likely be at the building for another day or two.
Anybody with information is asked to contact Det. Ross Johnson at 905-546-3827. To remain anonymous call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or submit tips online at crimestoppershamilton.com.