Til death to us part — a California man shot his estranged wife inside the elementary school classroom in which she taught special education students.
Til Death Do Us Part? A Southern California man fatally shot his estranged wife inside the elementary school classroom in which she taught special education students. He then killed himself. Two students were also injured in the murder-suicide at North Park Elementary School in San Bernardino — one survived, but the other would later die in the hospital.
San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said the shooter, Cedric Anderson, 53, of Riverside, walked into the room armed with a revolver and opened fire “without saying anything.” He instantly killed Karen Elaine Smith, 53, also of Riverside. Smith was a teacher at the school. The two students were standing behind Smith. Police don’t believe they were targeted — just at the wrong place at the wrong time. Officers received reports of the shooting at the school shortly before 10:30 a.m.
Jonathan Martinez, 8, died at Loma Linda University Medical Center after being airlifted. The other unidentified student, a 9-year-old boy, was listed in stable condition. Burguan said that at the time of the shooting there were 15 students across four grade levels in the special needs classroom in which Smith taught.
“This is a tragic incident that has befallen our city,” San Bernardino Police Lt. Michael Madden said in an interview. Police received reports of the shooting at the school shortly before 10:30 a.m. Anderson had gone to the classroom to visit Smith, signing in at the front desk first and telling the office staff he wanted to drop something off with his wife. His weapon went unnoticed. It is not uncommon for a spouse to gain access to a school in order to meet with their partner. Burguan said preliminary information indicates the two were recently married.
“He came in, and very, very quickly upon entering the classroom started shooting,” Burguan said, and fired his .357-caliber revolver. He even stopped and reloaded in the middle of the incident, firing first the shot that killed Smith, then causing his own death. “I’m told that their marriage was relatively short. They’ve only been married for a few months and they’ve been separated for about the last month, month-and-a-half, roughly, when this incident took place,” he said. “But there’s nobody that in the investigation has come forward to say that they saw this coming.”
Oftentimes there are tracks left well in advance, before a more serious offense occurs — in this case, the death of an innocent woman. Anderson “does have a criminal history”. He had faced criminal charges of brandishing a weapon, assault and crimes against public peace in 2013. But, these charges were dismissed. There had also been two petitions for temporary restraining orders against him by other women. However, despite this violent history, he continued on as a free man.
San Bernardino was also site of a mass shooting in December 2015. A gunman opened fire at a holiday party, killing 14 people. The mayor said that after the 2015 terror attack, the community became “very resilient and can deal with tragedy, disaster just as effectively as any community in the United States. And we did that. And we will continue to do that in this occasion.”