Cedric Anderson was granted access to North Park Elementary School in San Bernardino, California because he said he had something to give his wife, Karen Elaine Smith. Unfortunately, once Anderson reached the classroom where Smith was teaching, he reached for a .357 Magnum and opened fire, killing Smith and injuring two of her students. Anderson then took his own life.
Anderson, 53, and Smith, 53, had gotten married in January but were already estranged for several weeks, according to The San Bernadino Sun.
“Without saying anything, armed with a large caliber revolver, he opened fire on his wife,” San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said. “She was killed in the exchange.”
Suspect in shooting identified as Cedric Anderson, age 53, resident of Riverside, CA. pic.twitter.com/H9YYQZvZud
— San Bernardino PD (@SanBernardinoPD) April 10, 2017
The classroom was filled with 15 special-needs students between first and fourth grade, Smith and two aides at the time of the shooting. One of the two students who were injured, Jonathan Martinez, 8, died on the way to the hospital. Another 9-year-old student was listed to be in stable condition. They were reportedly standing behind Smith during the shooting.
Students were later evacuated to a nearby gym where they were comforted with games, movies, sandwiches and even a visit from the San Bernadino Police Department’s dog, Sherlock. Classes have been cancelled for Tuesday and Wednesday.
“I would like you to work with your young child to keep things as normal as possible,” San Bernardino City Unified School District Superintendent Dale Marsden said. “Be willing to listen to their story as many times as possible. And be ready to model for them a healthy response.”
The tragic loss of life is always hard to swallow, but even more so when it happens in a place where children are meant to be safe and secure.
This also an example of violence against Black women caused by their significant others, an ongoing problem that must be acknowledged and changed.