Update, 3:51 p.m.: One of the two children injured in the attack has died, and three of the four victims have been identified.
Detectives were trying to unravel the events leading up to a shooting that took the lives of two adults and one child in San Bernardino today. Another student was critically injured but is in stable condition at a hospital this afternoon, Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said this afternoon.
The attack at North Park Elementary School was reported at 10:27 a.m., police said. Authorities believe a man came to a multigrade classroom to contact an instructor. He opened fire with a handgun, killing her, then turning the gun on himself, they said. “This does appear to have been a murder-suicide,” Lt. Mike Madden told reporters at a news conference. “The male adult and female adult victims succumbed to their injuries.”
“The children we do not believe were targeted,” Capt. Ron Maas added. “The suspect had come to the classroom to visit the adult female that was in the classroom. We believe the two children were the unfortunate recipients of injuries by being in proximity to the female.”
Jonathan Martinez, 8, was taken by helicopter to Loma Linda University Medical Center, where he died, Burguan told reporters this afternoon. The suspected shooter was identified as 53-year-old Cedric Anderson; the teacher, who was his wife, was identified as 53-year-old Karen Smith.
“Without saying anything, armed with a large-caliber revolver, he opened fire on his wife,” Burguan said of Anderson. “I am told they were estranged. … They've only been married a few months.”
The special-needs classroom had about 15 students and two other adult “aides,” the chief said. “Both the students were behind the teacher when the suspect shot his wife,” he said.
The shooting rocked a city still recovering from 2015's terrorist attack in which 14 people died and at least 21 people were injured. San Bernardino city schools superintendent Dale Marsden said, “This is a tragic event. Our hearts are broken.”
“My thoughts are with the victims and survivors, Mayor [Carey] Davis, and all of our neighbors in San Bernardino affected by this unthinkable tragedy,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement. “Our gratitude goes to all school personnel, first responders and crisis workers who kept children safe and are helping families cope with the aftermath. On behalf of all Angelenos, I stand with them in their grief, commend their courage and send prayers for the healing of bodies, minds and hearts.”
“I am heartbroken by this morning’s news of the fatal shootings at a San Bernardino elementary school,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement. “Schools are supposed to be safe places where children can learn and grow. And today’s shootings give everyone pause.”
The school was placed on lockdown as students were shuttled to Cajon High School, where anxious parents awaited. Some students would not be showing up immediately, however, authorities warned, because they needed to be interviewed as witnesses. The parents of the wounded had been informed, cops said.
Officials said the North Park campus would be closed for at least another two days.
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