Two adults and a child died in California’s North Park Elementary School in a shooting incident that the police believe to be a murder-suicide. The shooter has been identified as 53-year-old Cedric Anderson who was the estranged husband of the 53-year-old female victim Karen Elaine Smith.
It is believed that Karen was the intended target and the 8 year old child victim Jonathan Martinez got in the way. He was airlifted but was declared dead upon arriving at the hospital. A 9-year-old boy was also injured in the shooting and is still hospitalized in a stable condition.
According to San Bernardino Police Department Chief Jarrod Burguan, the incident took place at around 10.30 am on Monday when Anderson entered the classroom where Smith along with two aides was teaching 15 special needs children. Anderson entered the room and opened fire on Smith who died at the scene. Martinez, 8 and another boy was standing behind Karen and were hit by bullets. Anderson then reloaded the large-caliber revolver he was carrying and shot himself. Anderson followed all the security protocols while entering the school and gained access to the classroom by telling the front office staff that he had to drop off something to his wife.
The shooting followed a short lived marriage between Anderson and Smith. They have been friends for four years before tying the knot in late January this year. But Smith left her husband after one and half month of marriage. “She thought she had a wonderful husband, but she found out he was not wonderful at all,” Irma Sykes, Smith’s mother told the Los Angeles Times. “He had other motives,” Sykes said. “She left him and that’s where the trouble began. She broke up with him and he came out with a different personality. She decided she needed to leave him.”
Neighbors of the couple said they seemed to be a nice and peaceful couple who were happy in their marriage. Though a few neighbors mentioned that sounds of arguments could be heard coming from their house sometimes. Anderson had a history of drug, weapons and domestic violence charges against him but that predates his marriage to Smith.