SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (CN) – Police have identified the man who entered a San Bernardino, California, elementary school and killed his wife in an apparent murder-suicide that also ended the life of an 8-year-old student.
At a Monday afternoon press conference, officials confirmed the male suspect was Cedric Anderson, 53, of Riverside. He entered a special education classroom of first to fourth graders at North Park Elementary and told the staff at the front desk that he was dropping something off for his wife, Karen Smith, who teaching in the classroom.
He entered the room and without a word took out a .357 revolver and shot the 53-year old teacher, San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said.
“He came in and very, very quickly upon entering the classroom started shooting,” he said.
Burguan said Anderson and Smith were married for a matter of months and had recently separated. Police did not know why the couple was estranged. Anderson has a criminal history that included weapons, drugs and domestic violence charges, Burguan said.
The two children behind Smith also sustained gunshot wounds, Burguan said. The police do not believe Anderson targeted the students.
Anderson then turned the gun on himself after reloading the large caliber revolver, police say.
The wounded students were transported by aircraft to nearby Loma Linda Medical Center. Jonathan Martinez, a student who was behind Smith, later died.
The other student is now stable. Burguan said that for now authorities will not release his name.
Police received reports of gunshots at 10:27 a.m. and reports of an active shooter shortly after that. Units arrived on the scene seven minutes after receiving the call, and the first team of eight officers entered the building. The San Bernardino Fire Department set up a triage area after the shooting.
Maria Garcia, a spokeswoman for the San Bernardino City Unified School District, said that the incident appears to have been part of a domestic dispute.
Authorities evacuated the school and took children to California State University, San Bernardino. Children left the school walking hand-in-hand across an open field. There are 500 children at the predominantly Latino elementary school, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Nine-year-old Jaidyn Stanley told the Times that he was in another classroom when he heard shots.
“I was in my class and my teacher was teaching us a lesson, and then I heard three gunshots. My teacher told us to get on the ground. Then we started hearing sirens,” he said.
Investigators searched Anderson’s residence in a gated community in Riverside and had secured a location in Bakersfield. Burguan said they had searched the Riverside home for additional victims.
The elementary school is less than 10 miles away from the Inland Regional Center, the location of the Dec. 2, 2015, terrorist attack that left 14 dead and 22 injured.