Home / National News / San Bernardino school shooting victims hailed at emotional vigil

 

(SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.) —  The grief-stricken community of San Bernardino, California, gathered Tuesday night for an emotional vigil to remember an 8-year-old boy and his teacher who were killed by a gunman at an elementary school this week.

The gunman has been identified as Riverside resident Cedric Anderson, who went to North Park Elementary School on Monday morning armed with a .357 revolver and opened fire on his wife, Karen Elaine Smith, according to San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan.

Anderson and Smith, both 53, were found dead in a special-needs classroom that serves the first through fourth grades. Anderson entered the classroom “without saying anything” before he opened fire and then turned the gun on himself, Burguan said. There were 15 students and two aides in the classroom at the time, the police chief added.

Two male students, who were injured as Anderson fired at his wife, were transported to hospitals for treatment. One of them, 8-year-old Jonathan Martinez, later died from his injuries after being airlifted to Loma Linda University Medical Center, Burguan said.

Jonathan had Williams syndrome, a rare developmental disorder that affects many parts of the body, according to San Bernardino Unified School District Superintendent Dale Marsden.

 The other student, a 9-year-old, is hospitalized in stable condition. He sustained a single gunshot wound to his upper body, Burguan said at a news conference Monday, declining to further discuss the boy’s condition other than that he is improving.

The students were not targeted but were standing behind Smith when her estranged husband opened fire, Burguan added.

Hundreds of students, parents and community members came out Tuesday night to mourn and honor the memories of Jonathan and Smith.

“Jonathan loved to give hugs,” North Park Elementary School principal Yadira Downing told ABC Los Angeles station KABC-TV. “Jonathan loved just touching you. He was easy to love.”

Smith’s students described her as kind and always willing to help.

“If you don’t ask really her to, she’ll still try to help you, even if it’s hard to,” 11-year-old student Elijah Beaven told KABC. “She never gives up.”

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