Everett educator slain near Mill Creek; husband arrested

Holly Martinez, 45, died of gunshot wounds Monday night. She had filed for divorce in January.

Holly Martinez

Holly Martinez

EVERETT — Shock and sadness rippled through the Everett schools community Tuesday as word spread that a woman shot and killed overnight was an administrator in the district’s central office and was a former elementary principal.

Holly Martinez, 45, worked for the district for nearly a decade, beginning as a reading specialist at Garfield Elementary. She served as an assistant principal at several elementary schools before becoming principal at Forest View Elementary in 2011. She was a director of elementary literacy the past two school years.

In a message to school district staff, Everett Superintendent Gary Cohn described Martinez as a loving mother and a highly respected instructional leader and colleague.

Her husband, Paul Anthony Martinez, was booked into the Snohomish County Jail Tuesday morning for investigation of second-degree domestic violence murder. He is 49.

Holly Martinez was found unconscious with gunshot wounds around 9 p.m. Monday by sheriff’s deputies after they were called to a home east of Mill Creek. CPR was performed for almost an hour.

She died at the scene, Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Shari Ireton said. Court documents describing what led to Paul Martinez’s arrest were not available Tuesday afternoon. A bail hearing is likely Wednesday.

The couple was married in Phoenix in 2001. Their three children are in middle and high school.

Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes detectives are investigating the shooting.

Holly Martinez filed for divorce in January, according to court records.

She wrote that her husband had a bachelor’s degree in psychology, was certified in massage therapy and worked in construction. She described his work history as sporadic and said he had begun working on a master’s degree in counseling at the Seattle School of Theology and Psychology but hadn’t completed it.

The suspect purchased a handgun in 2017 and kept it in a gun safe, according to court papers.

“I’m not requesting a restraining order regarding the gun but do request that he leave the gun in the gun safe until this matter is resolved,” Holly Martinez wrote in paperwork seeking a divorce.

Cohn, the school district superintendent, wrote staff: “As you can imagine, this morning I am at a loss for words to express the depth of my shock and sadness. The tragedy of Holly’s death calls us to be our best selves and care for one another. While it is beyond our capacity to make sense of the senseless, many who depend on us will expect that. We are the people others will turn to in their grief.”

Holly Martinez often asked students and co-workers to help others. That included administrators providing gifts to a local senior citizen home and children donating supplies to fellow students in Africa.

A few years ago, when she was principal, Forest View Elementary School students collected and packed goods that were sent to Uganda through a Sister Schools nonprofit.

“Students were amazed to find out how every single donation was useful to a child or family in Uganda,” she said at the time.

Darren Larama, now principal at Forest View Elementary, said he always held Martinez in high regard as an educator and a colleague.

“I knew that she loved her new role in leading our children forward in developing their love of reading and writing,” he wrote in a letter for Forest View families.

Gateway Middle School Principal Shelley Boten said Martinez was beloved at Forest View, writing that “many of our students remember her for her kindness and dedication to her students.”

Ireton encouraged anyone suffering domestic abuse to contact Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County at 425-252-2873, info@dvs-snoco.org or via an anonymous message on their site at dvs-snoco.org/contact.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; stevick@heraldnet.com.

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