A teacher and an 8-year-old special needs student were killed Monday during a murder-suicide shooting at a California elementary school, authorities said.
Instructor Karen Smith was killed in her classroom when her estranged husband, Cedric Anderson, walked in and quickly opened fire, San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan told reporters. Jonathan Martinez, 8, and an unidentified 9-year-old student were standing behind their teacher.
Martinez died hours later at a hospital. The other boy is in critical condition, police said.
After firing at Smith, Anderson turned the gun on himself, Burguan said. Both were 53. They had only been married for a few months, but had been estranged for several weeks, police said.
Fifteen special needs children, in grades 1-4, were inside the classroom along with two adult aides, the police chief said.
Anderson was allowed into the school after he told office staff he was dropping off something for his wife, Burguan said. As he strode into her classroom, "without saying anything, [he] opened fire on his wife," the chief said. He reloaded at least twice.
The wounded children had been airlifted to Loma Linda University Medical Center.
North Park Elementary School will be closed for at least two days, school officials said.
"Parents, I have a message for you. I would like you to work with your young child to keep things as normal as possible," said school district superintendent Dale Marsden. "Be willing to listen to their story as many times as possible and be ready to model for them a healthy response."
The school was placed on lockdown and youngsters were transferred to a local high school, where distraught parents came to pick them up.
"This is a tragic incident that has befallen our city," police Lt. Michael Madden told reporters.