A shooting at a San Bernardino, California, elementary school Monday has claimed three lives and left a fourth victim hospitalized.
An eight-year-old child is among those killed after Cedric Anderson walked into his estranged wife’s special needs classroom at North Park Elementary, opening fire before turning the gun on himself. According to the Los Angeles Times, the teacher, Karen Smith, died at the scene, and 8-year-old Jonathan Martinez died after being airlifted to the hospital. Another 9-year-old child was injured.
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Smith’s mother Irma Sykes told the Los Angeles Times that her daughter and Anderson had been friendly for years before becoming a couple, and were married in January. But a month after they moved in together, Sykes said, her daughter “decided she needed to leave him,” after seeing a new side to her husband.
It is not known if anyone at the school was aware that Smith was planning to end the marriage, but San Bernardino City Unified School District Superintendent Dale Marsden told the Los Angeles Times that school employees knew who Anderson was. The murder-suicide suspect reportedly entered the school’s front office, claiming that he had drop something off for Karen.
Staff reportedly asked him for identification, but San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan told the Los Angeles Times that none of the school staff saw that he was carrying a gun.
School district spokesperson Maria Garcia told the newspaper that while the school does not employ armed guards, security is “very, very tight.”
It is not certain if Anderson was given permission to enter his wife’s classroom or if he went to the classroom surreptitiously.
The Los Angeles Times reports that Anderson had a criminal history that includes domestic violence charges. In July 2013, he was reportedly charged with assault and battery, disturbing the peace, and brandishing a firearm.