Parents and students gathered outside Albany Middle School this morning to mourn the death of a sixth-grade teacher who was found dead of an apparent suicide on Monday after being arrested on suspicion of molestation. Dozens of people gathered in front of the school at 1259 Brighton Ave., some hugging each other and crying.
A makeshift memorial had been set up at the base of the school’s flagpole, where people placed flowers and candles in honor of James Izumizaki, 28, who taught sixth grade at the school. Izumizaki was arrested last Wednesday on suspicion of committing a lewd act on a minor after police began investigating a report that he had an inappropriate relationship with a former student at the school.
He had been booked into the Santa Rita Jail, but was later released on bail. His body was found in a car on Via Alamitos in San Leandro at about 10:30 a.m. Monday. Alameda County sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. J.D. Nelson said that, based on the nature of the death and a note that was left, it appears Izumizaki took his own life. Stan Tamaki was among those who showed up outside Albany Middle School this morning to pay tribute to Izumizaki.
Tamaki, 55, said he has three daughters who have had Izumizaki as a teacher, and that he cares about him as if he were family. He called the death “mind-boggling” and said he thinks Izumizaki was under too much pressure because of the allegation he was facing. “I guess he thought he was going to lose everything,” Tamaki said. Kathy Meyer, 53, has two daughters who have been in Izumizaki’s class, and said he was a close family friend and “a great young man.”
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