San Bernardino Shooting
On Monday April 10 in San Bernardino, a man fatally shot his estranged wife inside a special needs elementary school classroom at North Park Elementary School before killing himself. Two students were injured in this murder-suicide, and one later died at a nearby hospital.
The shooter, identified by police as Cedric Anderson, 53, walked into the classroom and opened fire on his wife, Karen Elaine Smith, 53, without saying anything. Smith was the head teacher in a class of 15 special needs students.
The two students struck by gunfire were reportedly standing behind Smith. Eight-year-old Jonathan Martinez was airlifted from North Park Elementary to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead upon arrival. A nine-year-old student was also wounded, but was reported to be stable on Monday afternoon. Police believe the students were not deliberately targeted.
San Bernardino Police received reports of the shooting at the school shortly before 10:30 a.m. According to Ron Maass, a Police Captain at the San Bernardino Police Department, Anderson had gone to the classroom to visit Smith. Maass said there was no indication that the suspect’s handgun, which is believed to have been a .357-caliber revolver, was visible when he entered the school. The Chief of Police, Jarrod Burguan, said Anderson told the front office employees that he wanted to drop something off with his wife and then headed to the classroom, where he quickly fired the revolver.
Smith and Anderson had been intermittently dating for four years. Within the first month of their marriage, Anderson accused Smith of cheating and threatened to throw her out the window and kill her. According to the police sources, the couple’s marriage did not last longer than a few months. The two had recently separated, but no witnesses have come forward to provide more information.
Police records show Anderson has a criminal history. In 2012 and 2013, Torrance police had received five reports involving him. He was only arrested twice, however. Once for a domestic violence charge and another time for brandishing a knife against a neighbor. The three charges that did not result in arrests involved family disturbances, verbal arguments, and a call where the police had to “keep the peace” and deter a civil dispute when Anderson was moving out of his residence.
San Bernardino Mayor R. Carey Davis said, “Far too often in our country and throughout the world, we gather to report this news of tragic events that take place.” The city was previously the site of a mass shooting in December 2015, where 14 people were killed when a couple opened fire at the County Health Department’s holiday party.
North Park Elementary School will be closed for a few days, said Dale Marsden, the superintendent of the school district. Several counselors were summoned to talk with students, including those who were questioned by investigators. Marsden says counselors will be available and urged parents to talk to their children and contact officials should they need help.