3 dead, student hurt in shooting at San Bernardino school
SAN BERNARDINO (AP) -- A man who killed his estranged wife and a special-needs student in her classroom Monday had professed his love for her just last month on social media, including a post that called her "an angel."
Cedric Anderson had married Karen Elaine Smith in late January. The couple had been estranged for at least a month before Cedric walked into an elementary school in San Bernardino in a targeted attack on his wife, fatally shooting her and striking two of her students, police said. One of the boys died.
On what appeared to be his Facebook page, Anderson posted photos in March smiling and hugging Smith. In a short video posted Feb. 27, the 53-year-old looks into the camera and talks about why he loves her.
"She knows when to ignore me," he said with a laugh. "Well, it makes a happy marriage."
Several other of his posts quoted Bible verses. He posted several photos of his wedding to Smith and their honeymoon among the scenic red rocks of Sedona, Arizona.
Anderson had a prior criminal history that included weapons charges, domestic violence and possible drug charges, Burguan said, though he did not immediately provide any other details.
Anderson walked into North Park School on Monday and told a staff member that he needed to drop something off to his wife, police said. Anderson went to her classroom and "without saying anything," shot Smith with a large-caliber revolver, San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said.
Jonathan Martinez, 8, died shortly after being airlifted to a hospital, while a 9-year-old boy, was in stable condition.
Colleagues remembered Smith as a dedicated educator who loved her job.
"It takes a very, very special person to be a special education teacher," said Maria Garcia, a spokeswoman for the San Bernardino City Unified School District. "We want her to be remembered for the amazing teacher that she was."
9YO girl witnesses shooting
A 9-year-old girl who was in the San Bernardino elementary school classroom where a gunman opened fire says the man "shot everywhere," hitting her friend and her teacher.
The girl, Marissa Perez, and her mother, Elizabeth Barajas, cried and hugged as they reunited several hours after Monday's shooting.
Marissa was one of 15 students in the special-education classroom at North Park Elementary School when Cedric Anderson killed the teacher, his wife. One student standing behind Karen Smith died and another was injured. Anderson then killed himself.
Marissa, who had a small amount of blood on her sweatshirt as she talked to The Associated Press, says she hid under the table as soon as she saw the gunman.
She says the man just walked in and started shooting. She pointed to her stomach when asked where her friend got shot.
Shooting shocks San Bernardino
A man walked into his estranged wife's elementary school classroom in San Bernardino and opened fire without saying a word, killing her and an 8-year-old student before shooting himself in a murder-suicide that spread panic across a city still recovering emotionally from a terror attack just 15 months ago.
A 9-year-old student also was critically wounded. He and the boy who died were behind their special-education teacher, Elaine Smith, 53, the target of the man she had married months earlier, police said.
The shooting left hundreds of distraught parents waiting for hours to reunite with their children.
Staffers knew Cedric Anderson, who had been estranged from his wife for about a month, and he got into the school by saying he had to drop something off for Smith, officials said.
"No one has come forward to say they saw this coming," police Chief Jarrod Burguan told reporters.
Anderson had a history of weapons, domestic violence and possible drug charges that predated the short marriage, authorities said.
He frequently wrote social media posts about his wife over the past month. On what appeared to be his Facebook page, Anderson said he "loved being married to Karen Smith-Anderson!" and posted a photo of the two of them on March 4 in what he described as a date night. He posted several photos of his wedding to Smith early this year and their honeymoon in Sedona, Arizona.
Fifteen students ranging from first to fourth grade were in the special-education classroom at North Park School, along with two adult aides and Smith, when Anderson emptied a large-caliber revolver and reloaded. Then, he turned the gun on himself.
Jonathan Martinez, the 8-year-old, was airlifted to a hospital and died soon after arriving, Burguan said. The 9-year-old boy, whose name was not released, has been stabilized at a hospital.
The 600 other students at the school were bused to safety at California State University's San Bernardino campus, several miles away, after many walked off campus hand-in-hand, escorted by police.
Panicked parents had to wait hours before being reunited with them at a nearby high school.
Holly Penalber, whose 9-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter attend the school, called it "every parent's worst nightmare." She said the long wait was "frustrating but also understandable."
When the buses first pulled away from the elementary school, some parents ran alongside, waving and trying to recognize their children inside. Many said their children were too young to have cellphones. Others said the phones rang unanswered.
When students got to the high school, many carrying glow sticks they had been given to pass the time, they got hugs from emotional parents, many in tears. Police officers applauded and high-fived them.
Alberta Terrell said she cried with relief when she was told that a family friend saw her 9-year-old granddaughter getting safely onto a bus.
"I was really elated. But I won't be truly happy until I see her and can give her a big hug," Terrell said as she sat in the bleachers near Cajon High School's baseball diamond, waiting for her granddaughter to arrive.
San Bernardino, a city of 216,000 people about 60 miles east of Los Angeles, was the site of a December 2015 terror attack that killed 14 people and wounded 22 others at a meeting of San Bernardino County employees. Husband-and-wife shooters Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik were later killed in a gunbattle with authorities.
"Tragedy has again befallen our city," Police Lt. Mike Madden said Monday of a community that has struggled in recent years.
Once a major rail hub and citrus producer, San Bernardino filed for bankruptcy in 2012 after struggling to pay its employees despite steep cuts to the budget.
An outlying suburb of Los Angeles, it was hit hard when the Great Recession sent housing prices tumbling. As the city struggled with economic problems that forced layoffs of police and other government workers, violent crime, particularly homicides, began to rise.
In the past year, however, the city seemed to be making a recovery. Burguan, who won national praise for the way his department responded to the 2015 attack, announced last year he was hiring additional officers.