- An eight-year-old boy succumbed to gunshot wounds after being caught in the crossfire when a man shot his wife before turning the gun on himself
- The couple had been married for a few months and estranged for at least one month
- Police say the man had a history of criminal charges
An eight-year-old boy succumbed to gunshot wounds after being caught in the crossfire during a suspected murder-suicide incident at North Park School in San Bernardino, California, US on Monday.
Reports indicate that a 53-year-old pastor identified as Cedric Anderson walked into the classroom where his estranged wife, Karen Smith, also 53, was teaching and opened fire on her.
Anderson then reportedly reloaded his large-caliber revolver and turned it on himself, killing himself instantly. However, two students, eight year-old Jonathan Martinez and an unidentified nine-year-old boy, were injured in the process. Martinez later succumbed to his wounds.
Authorities said Anderson had told school staff that he had come to drop off something for his wife before storming into the classroom and opening fire immediately.
During a press conference, Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said school staffers knew Anderson well and did not suspect that he was planning to do something so tragic. He added that Anderson and Smith had been married for a few months but were estranged at the time of the incident.
Burguan added that Anderson had a criminal history of weapons charges, domestic violence and possible drug charges, and that he had previously expressed his love for his wife on social media, just weeks before the tragic incident.
Smith’s mother, Irma Sykes, told local media that Smith and Anderson had been friends for four years before their marriage, adding: “She thought she had a wonderful husband, but she found out he was not wonderful at all. He had other motives. She left him and that’s where the trouble began. She broke up with him and he came out with a different personality."
Smith was a special needs teacher and had about 15 children in her class at the time of the incident. Police evacuated a nearly 600 children at the school to safety but do not believe that any of them was targeted.
Watch a news report of the incident below.