Three people, including an 8-year-old student, were killed Monday in what police said was a “murder-suicide” at North Park Elementary School in San Bernardino, Calif.
Karen Elaine Smith, a 53-year-old teacher at the school, was shot and killed by her estranged husband, who entered her special-education classroom and opened fire. Two students who were standing behind Smith at the time were also struck by gunfire - one fatally.
The suspect, who police have identified as 53-year-old Cedric Anderson, then shot and killed himself.
The second injured student, who is 9 years old, is currently in stable condition at a local hospital.
Police said Anderson was allowed into the school after checking in at the front office and telling administrators he had to drop something off for his wife - something San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said was “not uncommon.”
Police said they do not believe the students were targeted in the incident, which took place in one classroom. Along with Smith, two teacher’s aides and 15 students in first through fourth grade were present at the time of the shooting.
“I have my own children in schools here in the district, a stone’s throw from where we’re standing now,” Superintendent Dale Marsden said at a press conference Monday afternoon. “I think I’d say the same thing to them: This is a tragic event. It’s going to take time for our heads and our hearts to heal.”
Students at the school were evacuated to the nearby Cajon High School shortly after the shooting took place. North Park Elementary, Cajon High School and Hillside Elementary School were also placed on lockdown following the incident, and North Park Elementary is expected to remain closed for at least two days.
San Bernardino was the site of a deadly terror attack that left 14 dead and 22 injured in 2015.