Students and teachers of high school in Hanford trying to cope after death of principal

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Greg Henry, 51, was the head of Sierra Pacific High School. Investigators believe Henry died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. (KFSN)

Heartbreak in the South Valley after the shocking loss of a popular school principal. Greg Henry, 51, was the head of Sierra Pacific High School. Counselors were on hand at the high school in Hanford for the hundreds of students and staff who are reeling from the death of their beloved principal.

"We're all sad. We lost a great principle, a great leader, we all looked up to him-- it's just a very sad, sad day," said Dakota Parker, student.

"I'll always remember him for his personality. He was always smiling and nice to everyone," said Destinee Garivay, student.

All day flags at the school were at half staff and many people on campus were wearing pink-- Henry's favorite color.

"His shirts pink all the time. He wore pink at least once a week," said Parker.

Investigators believe Henry died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The Kings County Sheriff's Office and Hanford Police discovered him in his car on a dirt road off 14th Avenue Monday afternoon. Hanford officers traced his cell phone after they were alerted by family members that he was missing, distraught, and possibly suicidal. Henry had also missed several meetings he was supposed to attend at the school.

"He had text some family members and basically was apologizing. He didn't want to put them through some investigation. He was going to go through and basically said a vague goodbye to them over text," said Dave Putnam, Kings County Assistant Sheriff.

Before coming to Sierra Pacific, Henry was a well-liked principal at Pioneer Middle School for 10 years. The Hanford Joint Union High School District issued a statement, sending condolences to his family and that his loss will be felt deeply.

As word spread of his passing many teachers and students talked in and outside of class-- hoping to come together to cope and heal.

"It's really depressing. All the halls are quiet, the teachers are very emotional, and so are the students, but we are all getting through it together," said Garivay.

"I hope he rests easy and is looking down on all of us," said Parker.

Many people in law enforcement also knew Henry from community meetings and because his father is a retired Sheriff's captain.

Students are planning on holding a candlelight vigil in his honor. Henry was also a water polo coach so the vigil will be Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. at Hanford West's pool.

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suicideprincipalhanfordkings countyHanford
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