Updated 4:04 p.m. 1 student dead, suspect and 2 victims ID’d
A 53-year-old man shot and killed a teacher and injured two students at an elementary school classroom in San Bernardino late Monday morning before killing himself. One of the students later died from his injuries.
The suspected shooter, identified as Cedric Anderson of Riverside, allegedly shot 53-year-old teacher Karen Elaine Smith, who was Anderson’s wife, San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said at an afternoon press conference.
Armed with a .357 revolver, Anderson entered the multi-grade classroom where Smith taught at North Park Elementary and, without saying anything, opened fire on his wife, according to Burguan.
Smith was killed and two children standing behind her were also hit. One of those children, identified as 8-year-old Jonathan Martinez, died after being airlifted to Loma Linda University Medical Center.
The second injured student, a 9-year-old boy whose name is not being released, is in stable condition at the hospital, Burguan said.
Smith, two adult aides and 15 students were in the classroom for special needs students at the time of the shooting, according to Burguan. The class included students in first through fourth grade.
Smith and Anderson were recently married but had been separated for the last one to one-and-a-half months. Anderson had a home in Riverside, which has been secured by law enforcement. No details about the registration of the firearm were available. According to Burguan, Anderson had a criminal history that included weapons charges, domestic violence charges and possible drug charges.
In a statement, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said he was heartbroken by news of the shooting:
"My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the students, teachers, administrators, and local community. The California Department of Justice is offering its full support and law enforcement resources to the people of San Bernardino at this time."
San Bernardino Mayor R. Carey Davis said a prayer vigil was planned for 6 p.m. Monday at Our Lady of the Assumption Church at 796 W. 48th St.
2:05 p.m. A female teacher was killed and two students injured at San Bernardino's North Park Elementary School on Monday in what authorities said was likely a domestic violence incident. An adult male suspect was also dead.
The children were not targeted by the shooter, San Bernardino Police Capt. Ron Maass said at an afternoon press conference. The children were not related to either of the adults. One of the two wounded students was airlifted to a local trauma center and the other taken by ambulance, both in unknown condition. Their parents have been notified, San Bernardino Unified Superintendent Dale Marsden tweeted.
"I would like our community and our nation to keep our families in prayer. This is an absolute tragic event," said Marsden said.
Marsden praised the response from law enforcement, which he said were on scene in less than seven minutes. He said that North Park Elementary will be closed for at least two more days.
San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said via Twitter that the incident is believed to be a murder-suicide. The shooting was believed to stem from an incident of domestic violence, San Bernardino City Unified spokesperson Maria Garcia told KPCC.
Officials have not yet confirmed the relationship between the adults and there is no information about precursors to the incident that would have given a warning.
The weapon was a handgun, and there was no indication it was visible upon the suspect's arrival at the school. Procedure generally requires a visitor to check in upon arrival at the school.
San Bernardino Unified elementary schools are not staffed with security guards or police officers, Garcia said. There's a single entry and exit point at each school. All perimeter fences are supposed to be locked by the beginning of the school day as a matter of procedure. Newer elementary schools are equipped with buzzer systems in the office, but North Park was not one of those schools, Garcia said.
The grade level of the classroom has not yet been released, but officials believe it may have been a multi-grade classroom.
Police and fire officials reported a heavy emergency response, with multiple ambulances, sheriff's deputies, California Highway Patrol and school police on scene.
Students were being taken to Cal State San Bernardino, but parents and guardians were supposed to report to Cajon High School at 1200 West Hill Drive to verify their identities before picking up their children, according to the district. Chief Burguan had earlier said that students were being taken to the high school but sent a correction via Twitter.
Evacuated students were being entertained with a Disney movie, glow sticks, games and other toys, according to San Bernardino Police spokesperson Vicki Cervantes via Twitter. Counselors and victim/witness advocates were also on hand to assist both the children and school staff.
By the early afternoon, some students had been reunited with their parents. Cervantes said the students were being released from evacuation by grade, in order from lowest to highest. She also said via Twitter that students were being served sandwiches and watching more movies while they waited to be released.
Marsden said that some students would be interviewed by authorities.
Outside the gates of Cajon High School earlier in the day, Holly and Michael Penalbar waited to be reunited with their 7-year-old daughter and 9-year-old son.
Earlier, Holly was at work at a local sheriff's department when Michael called her from home, saying someone had been shot at their children's elementary school, she told KPCC.
"He heard at the hospital that there's a 9-year-old boy," Holly said. "It scares you. You don't know."
TV news footage showed parents rushing to Cajon High School. KPCC's media partner NBC4 spoke with a grandparent who was standing outside the campus waiting to learn more:
"Five grandkids there at the school. Nobody knows anything of what's going on. It's just chaos. Everything is just chaos."
Families impacted by the shooting who need victim assistance were advised by the San Bernardino District Attorney's office to call 909-382-3846.
The district's emergency management office also said a crisis hotline has been set up for North Park Elementary. That number is 909-386-8256.
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos tweeted her condolences following the shooting.
Officials plan to update the public at another press conference at 3:30 p.m.
This story has been updated.