(Photo Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
Authorities in California were searching for a motive behind a murder-suicide at an elementary school Monday, which also took the life of an 8-year-old student and injured a 9-year-old.
“No one has come forward to say they saw this coming,” San Bernardino police Chief Jarrod Burguan said.
Cedric Anderson, 53, had a history of weapons, domestic violence and possible drug charges that predated his marriage to Karen Smith, 53, but police were still left searching for answers as to why Anderson would open fire in the special-education classroom at North Park Elementary killing Smith.
Six weeks earlier, Anderson was a newlywed, calling Smith an “angel” in one of many social media posts professing his love. His Facebook page featured similar posts sprinkled with religious devotion before his last public post on March 15.
“She knows when to ignore me,” Anderson said with a laugh in a short video posted Feb. 27. “Well, it makes a happy marriage.”
Anderson had posted that he “loved being married to Karen Smith-Anderson!” and posted a photo of the two of them on March 4 in what he described as a date night.
But Smith left him about a month and a half after their late-January marriage, police and family members said. Smith’s mother, Irma Sykes, said her daughter had been friends with Anderson for about four years before they got married.
“She thought she had a wonderful husband, but she found out he was not wonderful at all,” Sykes told the Los Angeles Times. “He had other motives,” Sykes said. “She left him and that’s where the trouble began. She broke up with him and he came out with a different personality. She decided she needed to leave him.”
School staffers knew Anderson, who followed the proper protocol and got into the school through the front office by saying he had to drop something off for Smith, school district officials said.
Smith was his target and the two boys were hit as he was firing at her, Burguan said. He emptied and reloaded the gun before turning it on himself.
Sykes said her daughter was a dedicated teacher who took up the profession about 10 years ago after her four children grew up. Diane Abrams, a substitute at the school, told the Los Angeles Times that Smith “dedicated her life to her students.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Fox News