School Climate & Safety

Student, Teacher Shot Dead in California Special Needs Classroom

By Evie Blad — April 10, 2017 2 min read
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A man shot and killed his wife and a student in a special education classroom at a San Bernardino, Calif., elementary school Monday, police said. A second student was injured in the attack.

The suspected gunman, 53-year-old Cedric Anderson, also shot and killed himself in the North Park Elementary School classroom, police said.

He had been estranged from his wife, 53-year-old teacher Karen Elaine Smith, San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said in an afternoon press conference.

Two students were transported to hospitals in critical condition Monday morning, police said. One of those children, 8-year-old Jonathan Martinez, later died. Police did not identify the other student, a 9-year-old, who was in stable condition Monday afternoon.

The children were hit because they were standing behind the teacher when the gunman fired at her, police said.

“He came in and, very very quickly upon entering the classroom, started shooting,” Burguan said.

He could not say how many shots the gunman fired, but he did reload his six-round revolver at one point, he said.

Officials said the gunman, who was known to school staff, entered the building using normal check-in procedures by signing in at the front office as a classroom visitor. The school does not have metal detectors, they said.

“He had simply said he was there to drop something off for his wife,” Burguan said. “That is not uncommon.”

In addition to the teacher, there were two adult aides and 15 students in the classroom.

Anderson and Smith had not been married long, and they had been separated for a few months, police said.

Students were taken to a nearby high school to be reunited with their parents. The school will be closed for at least two days while the investigation continues, San Bernardino City Schools Superintendent Dale Marsden said.

“I would like our community and our nation to keep our families in prayer,” he said. “This is an absolutely tragic event.”

The school does not have a designated on-site police officer, federal data show.

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos released a statement about the shooting:

Others noted San Bernardino’s recent history with violence.

This post will be updated.

Photo: In this frame from video provided by KABC-TV, faculty and students evacuate North Park School Elementary School as emergency personnel respond to a shooting inside on Monday, April 10, in San Bernardino, Calif. KABC-TV via AP

A version of this news article first appeared in the Rules for Engagement blog.