Authorities say an 8-year-old special needs student, Jonathan Martinez, was among three people killed early Monday morning during a shooting at an elementary school in San Bernardino, California.
According to the Washington Post, 53-year-old Cedric Anderson arrived at the North Park Elementary School on April 10 and checked in at the front office.
Anderson reportedly walked into a special education classroom with 15 students and two aides, without uttering a word, and pulled out a large caliber revolver.
He aimed the gun in the direction of Karen Elaine Smith, also 53, who is his estranged wife and the lead teacher at the elementary school, and opened fire.
It was stated that two students, Johnathan and a 9-year-old whose identity has been withheld, were standing near the elementary school teacher during the shooting.
Cedric Anderson and Karen Smith were married in January after dating for several years. https://t.co/xi3Eah0gqE
— BIG 93.9 (@Big939) April 11, 2017
Police officers arrived at the North Park Elementary School 10:30 a.m. after receiving a call about an active shooter at an elementary school.
Immediately taking action, officers escorted about 600 elementary school students to California State University’s San Bernardino campus, which is several miles away, for shelter.
San Bernardino officers soon discovered that after the suspected gunman shot his wife and two students, he reloaded his gun and apparently took his own life before officers arrived at the scene.
Emergency medical services transported the injured students to the Loma Linda University Medical Center’s trauma center, where they were listed in critical condition.
Just shortly after arrival, Johnathan died of his injuries.
— BreakingNewsAlertsHQ (@BNAlertsHQ) April 11, 2017
The other student remains hospitalized, but is listed in stable condition.
Officers say the North Park Elementary School teacher died at the scene.
Although it is not clear why the husband shot his wife dead at the school, San Bernardino police Capt. Ron Maass said during a news conference that the children were not the gunman’s target.
He added, “We believe the two children were the unfortunate recipients of injuries by being in the proximity to the female at the time of the incident.”
According to the teacher’s Facebook page, she married the suspected gunman—who she had known for years—on January 28 of this year at a church on Crenshaw Boulevard.
Gunman, Cedric Charles Anderson, walked into classroom and shot his teacher wife, Karen Elaine Smith https://t.co/rpMkxdHF8M
— KTLA (@KTLA) April 10, 2017
Smith believed he was a “man of faith,” and that they could live the rest of their lives together, but according to her mother, Irma Sykes, her daughter “thought she had a wonderful husband, but she found out he was not wonderful at all. He had other motives. She left him and that’s where the trouble began.”
In a recent report, officers say after Anderson—who has a military background—moved into Smith’s Riverside home, another side of him emerged.
Sykes refused to elaborate on what happened in the Anderson home, but she did, however, state that the San Bernardino gunman had been accused of domestic violence.
A month after joining lives, Smith put an end to their relationship, and she was contemplating divorce, but that never happened as she was shot dead in her special education classroom.
Four hours after the deadly school shooting, students at the North Park Elementary School were transported to Cajon high school where they would be reunited with their parents.
— NBC Los Angeles (@NBCLA) April 10, 2017
Project Islamic Hope Najee Ali, who knew the suspect from community activism, stated that he was a “respected pastor,” but after learning that Anderson shot his estranged wife at North Park Elementary School, that changed.
Ali said, “None of us knew the dark side in his private life. It seems he snapped. He couldn’t handle it and chose to deal with it in the most cowardly manner possible. I can’t forgive that. I hope he burns in h*** for what he did.”
Smith leaves behind four children, including Joshua Smith, who said his mother “loved life, her career, and especially her children.”
“It seems surreal that she is gone, that I will no longer hear her voice and that she won’t see her granddaughter grow up. It hurts, but I know she is with God now.”
In a statement, the San Bernardino City Unified School District stated as follows.
“As a result of this tragedy, North Park Elementary will be closed on Tuesday and Wednesday and Del Vallejo Middle School will serve as a temporary location to provide counseling and support services to North Park staff members, parents and students on Tuesday and Wednesday.”
[Featured Image by Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP Images]