A special education teacher and one of her students, an 8-year-old boy, were shot dead by her estranged husband on Monday when he opened fire in her classroom before killing himself at a San Bernardino elementary school in California, police said.
A second student was wounded by the gunman who, authorities said, had a criminal history that included domestic violence and weapons charges.
Police said the two students, both boys, were believed to have been inadvertently caught in the gunfire as bystanders to Monday’s shooting.
San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan called the shooting at the North Park Elementary School an apparent murder-suicide.
The gunman was identified as Cedric Anderson and his wife as Karen Elaine Smith, both 53. Burguan said the couple had been married briefly and had been separated for about a month.
The two students struck by bullets had been standing behind Smith, police chief said. While the 8-year-old boy succumbed to his injuries, his classmate was admitted to a local hospital and is said to be in stable condition.
The gunman had gained entry to the school as a visitor and kept his weapon concealed until he opened fire inside the classroom.
Series of Tweets By Police Chief Immediately After the Attack
Here are a series of tweets from the Police Chief:
We believe this to be a murder suicide. Happened in a class room. Two students have been transported to the hospital.— Chief Jarrod Burguan (@SBPDChief) April 10, 2017
There is a report of a shooting at Northpark Elementary. Large police response, please stay out of the area. More info to follow.— Chief Jarrod Burguan (@SBPDChief) April 10, 2017
Preliminary info is 4 victims, being treated. Suspect is possibly down as well.— Chief Jarrod Burguan (@SBPDChief) April 10, 2017
Joint response from @SanBernardinoPD sheriff, school police and CHP— Chief Jarrod Burguan (@SBPDChief) April 10, 2017
Students at the school are be taking to cajon high school for safety.— Chief Jarrod Burguan (@SBPDChief) April 10, 2017
Evacuation at the School
The school was evacuated and students were shifted to the California State University campus at San Bernardino to be briefed and interviewed by authorities. From there, they were to be taken to a nearby high school to be reunited with their families, police said.
Aerial television footage showed children holding hands and walking single-file across the campus to waiting buses.
One young student, reunited with her mother, told local NBC News affiliate KNBC-TV that the incident left her "super scared." Anxious parents interviewed on camera said they had been given no information from the school other than where their children were being taken.
School officials said North Park Elementary would remain closed for at least two days.
The city of San Bernardino was the scene of a shooting rampage on 2 December 2015, when a husband and wife, who authorities said were inspired by Islamic extremism, killed 14 people and wounded more than 20 others at a holiday office party. The couple, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, were killed by police during a shootout.
(With inputs from Reuters and AP.)
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