Son suspected in retired teacher’s violent death

A woman who allegedly was killed by her son at her Fremont apartment last week was a retired teacher at American High School in Fremont, school officials said Monday.

A spokesman for the Fremont Unified School District identified the former teacher as 64-year-old Nailah Pettigen, who taught special education but retired in 2013.

Police said officers who conducted a welfare check on Pettigen found her dead in her apartment in the 3900 block of Monroe Avenue at about 11 a.m. last Tuesday.

Police haven’t said how Pettigen was killed but said the level of violence involved in her death was “severe.” Police said on Friday that her son, 31-year-old Omar Malik Pettigen, was suspected of killing her and officers asked for the public’s help in tracking him down.

Pettigen was arrested in Kensington in unincorporated Contra Costa County at about 6 a.m. Sunday after police received a call at of a suspicious person with a duffel bag on the porch of a home on Lake Drive.

Officers found him walking along the road and detained him, police said.

Omar Pettigen is being held without bail at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin and is scheduled to be arraigned in Alameda County Superior Court in Fremont at 2 p.m. Tuesday.

School district officials said a vigil for Nailah Pettigen will be held at Saint James Episcopal Church at 37051 Cabrillo Terrace, at the corner of Thornton Avenue, in Fremont from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. today.