EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — A Special Education teacher at Gen. Douglas MacArthur PK-8 was arrested on campus Thursday after being indicted on a 2021 murder charge.
Matthew Jacob Mendoza, 25, is being held on a $75,000 bond in connection to the August 29, 2021, death of Eric Hernandez.
Court documents obtained by KTSM show an indictment was returned on Mendoza on May 2, 2023, and an arrest warrant was issued this week. El Paso County Sheriff’s deputies arrived on campus Thursday afternoon, contacted administrators, and took Mendoza into custody outside the campus doors.
The court documents state that Mendoza, Hernandez, and another man were drinking beers at Red Sands on August 29, 2021, when Hernandez allegedly became aggressive and started hitting Mendoza’s hat. According to documents, Mendoza and his friend left Hernandez at Red Sands and went to get food.
The complaint alleges Hernandez began sending threatening texts to Mendoza and the third man. Upon arrival at Mendoza’s home in the 12100 block of Amstater Circle, they allegedly saw Hernandez walking toward them. The pair began wrestling, and Hernandez was left unresponsive in the driveway. El Paso Police claimed Mendoza acknowledged getting into a fight with Hernandez, and he had blood on the left and right side of his face.
Hernandez was transported to Del Sol Medical Center, where he died.
The indictment indicates that Hernandez was beaten with a steering wheel lock during the altercation, ultimately leading to his death.
In an e-mail sent to parents at MacArthur School Thursday, administrators stated, “Until this morning, the current administration was unaware of any pending charges and/or allegations against this particular employee.”
It went on to say, “We understand this information can be unsettling. Please rest assured that the MacArthur campus is safe, and we will continue to work to ensure the security of students and staff.”