SAN BERNARDINO – He was a pastor for nearly 17 years, a father, and an 8-year Navy veteran prior to entering a San Bernardino School opening fire shooting two students, a teacher and then himself.
It was a seemingly normal day at North Park Elementary School where Special Education teacher Karen Smith taught the 15 children in her classroom. The children ranged from 1st to 4th grade and two instructional aides assisted Smith in teaching the students.
Smith earned her degree only around 10 years ago after raising her four homeschooled now-adult children. Smith was married to the father of her children for over 20 years, but the marriage ended and she remained single for many years. Smith met Cedric Anderson who was a Los Angeles-area pastor in 2013 and the two remained friends. Anderson stopped preaching several years ago for financial reasons and began working in construction. Despite his career change, Anderson still spoke often about God to family and friends. The friendship blossomed and the couple was married at Bethesda Temple Church in Los Angeles on January 28, 2017.
After the wedding, Anderson moved into Smith’s Riverside home where those close to Smith said things suddenly changed. In mid-March Smith could not ignore the behavior that friends called erratic, so she left home and stood with family. San Bernardino City Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said that she mentioned odd behavior and was concerned about it. He also said that he had made threats toward her, but she thought that he was only attempting to get attention by doing so.
Later investigation revealed that Anderson first attempted to enter the school through a locked door before going through the office. At around 10:25 a.m. Anderson then went through the office telling them that he needed to drop something off with his wife, he signed in and left the office. Approximately 2 minutes after, without a word, according to witnesses, Anderson shot 10 rounds from a .357 Magnum. Two students in close proximity to Smith were struck by the shots fired. Anderson then shot Smith and then turned the weapon on himself. Smith and Anderson died at the scene.
Jonathan Martinez, 8, was airlifted to Loma Linda University Medical Center in critical condition. Martinez died before making it into the operating room for emergency surgery. Nolan Brandy, 9, was transported by ground ambulance to Loma Linda University Medical Center where he is in stable condition and expected to fully recover. His parents, Leon and Rachel Brandy reached out to the community through the San Bernardino City School District to thank them for their outpouring of prayers and support.
Anderson had multiple arrests for domestic violence, theft, and weapon-related charges, but was not convicted. The family of Jonathan Martinez has set up a Go Fund Me account, which has reached well beyond the goal. The funds will go to help the family with his burial and any other expenses related to his death to give them time to mourn the loss of their child. There are no known accounts set up for Karen Smith or Nolan Brandy at this time.
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