SAN BENITO — A fight between a husband and wife turned into tragedy late Monday night.
Police said Jessica Cortina, 36, was shot by her husband Alvaro Mata Jr., 39.
“It happened inside the home. It happened in the bedroom and she was shot in front of their 17-year-old son,” said Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio, at a press conference yesterday.
Mata is being charged with first-degree murder.
The penalty is five to 99 years in prison.
Mata was in police custody sometime after 9 a.m. yesterday, following a search for him.
Lucio said Cortina, a Harlingen CISD teacher at Primera’s Wilson Elementary School, ran to her 17-year-old son’s room for help late Monday night and asked him to call 911 because his dad was going to kill her.
Lucio said Cortina was shot in the chest, and by the time first responders arrived to provide medical assistance, she was already dead.
Lucio said authorities received a 911 call shortly after midnight requesting medical attention for a woman who was bleeding.
Cortina died from the gunshot wound, Lucio said.
Mata had fled the scene in his Chevrolet pick-up, according to police, but was later arrested after authorities tracked him down sometime between 9 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. in Harlingen.
But a few hours earlier yesterday, as a precaution, Wilson Elementary School was put on lockdown in the event Mata showed up on the school campus in Primera.
The lockdown was lifted by 8:05 a.m. according to Harlingen Consolidated School District.
Mata was waiting to see the judge yesterday in Harlingen following his arrest.
According to the HCISD teacher directory, Cortina was a reading specialist instructor.
Yesterday, her student’s parents posted on Facebook their sadness after it was announced Cortina had died.
One parent said she was her son’s kindergarten teacher, chess coach and worked with him twice a week.
In another post, the parent also said Cortina was a good role model and couldn’t believe she was dead.
She was concerned how her students would take the heartbreaking news of the tragic loss of their teacher.
“We are heartbroken and saddened to learn of the sudden loss of one of our Wilson Elementary educators,” stated Dr. Arturo Cavazos, Superintendent of Schools Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District.
“Jessica Cortina (was) a well-loved teacher who was profoundly committed to the success of our students.”
Cavazos also stated, “our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends during this difficult time.”
“We will have a team of HCISD school counselors at the campus to talk to those students and staff who are most affected by this tragedy,” Cavazos added.
Cortina leaves behind four boys between the ages of 4 and 17.