Brief marriage precedes fatal San Bernardino school shooting

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16 April, 2017

A San Bernardino school spokeswoman says one of the victims was a teacher.

Cedric Anderson shot and killed his wife, Karen Smith, a special education teacher at the school as well as injuring two other students who were nearby, before turning the gun on himself.

He had endured heart surgery and many other challenges presented by Williams syndrome, a rare neurodevelopmental disorder marked by cardiovascular disease, developmental delays and learning disabilities, as well as impressive creative talents. Burguan said it appeared Anderson was trying to contact his wife to convince her to return home, but she resisted.

Anderson allegedly accused Smith of cheating within a month of getting married, relatives claimed.

San Bernardino Police Capt. Ron Maass, the incident commander, said Anderson had gone to the classroom to visit Smith.

Family members often visited their spouses at the San Bernardino, California, school, and school staff recognized Anderson as Smith's new husband.

Donations related to the syndrome will be coordinated by the San Bernardino City Unified School District.

"The family wants, in the memory of Jonathan, for the nation to be aware and conscious of what Williams syndrome is", Superintendent Dale Marsden said. Jonathan was also struck and killed by the gunfire.

Investigators found a note that made reference to the couple's relationship, feeling dishonored and "moving forward with no regrets", Burguan said. At the time of the shooting, the special needs classroom reportedly had 15 students ranging from 1st to 4th grade inside.

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"We just had to hide under our desks and then the SWATs came to the classroom and they told us to put our hands up and we had to do it calmly and we walked out of the classroom", student Christian Flores said.

A 7 p.m. candlelight vigil will be held at North Park Elementary Tuesday.

Anderson then turned the gun on himself.

Jeffrey Imbriani and his grandfather Ruben Gutierrez describe their experiences Tuesday, April 11, 2017, after a teacher and student were shot to death Monday at North Park Elementary School in San Bernardino, Calif. Imbriani said he was friends with Jonathan Martinez who was killed along with his teacher, Karen Smith.

An elderly woman hands flowers to a police officer to honor the shooting victims at North Park Elementary School Monday, April 10, 2017, in San Bernardino, Calif. Just showing the love, letting them know we are here for them.

Jeffrey said students got out of their chairs and ran outside with their teacher when they heard gunshots. "That just wouldn't happen", she said. He said Smith also had confided to relatives that she was concerned about his "odd" behaviour and that "he had made some threats toward her".

Children with the syndrome tend to have striking verbal abilities and an affinity for music, Marsden said.

Anderson had a criminal history that included weapons charges, drug charges and accusations of domestic violence, Burguan said.

As a mother of three, I can't even begin to imagine the panic these parents experienced.


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