I’m sure by now you’ve heard the disturbing story of Karen Elaine Smith, a teacher at North Park Elementary School in San Bernardino, CA. Smith taught a special education class at the school. Around 10:30a.m., on April 10th, Mrs. Smith’s estranged husband, Cedric Anderson walked into the school office, after a failed attempt at getting into the school through a side door. In the office, he told them that he had to drop something off to his wife. Anderson entered Karen’s classroom and shot her several times. He reloaded the gun once (it only held six rounds). Without saying a word, Anderson turned the gun on himself. An 8- and 9-year-old; both boys were caught by stray bullets. The 8-year-old, Jonathan Martinez, died. The 9-year-old, Nolan Brandy was wounded.
Smith and Anderson had only been married a few months before separating. The two dated four years before walking down the aisle. Smith’s mother said of Anderson, “He always showed his good side; until they got married. Then he changed.” Smith had heard rumors of Anderson’s dark side, but she paid them no mind. After all, he never showed an inkling of being dangerous. According to the police, Anderson had a criminal history of domestic violence and weapons charges that covered the span of 1982-2013. He was never convicted for any of the charges.
After the couple married in January of earlier this year, all that changed. Anderson began to accuse Smith of cheating. He also began threatening to kill her. Smith even told her mother about Anderson’s sudden attitude change. In March, Smith decided that she had to get out.
Anderson has been branded as a ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’, in the papers. The police explained that no one at the school knew of Smith’s marital problems. Had they known they would have never let Anderson go to her classroom. When he signed in at the office, personnel said that he didn’t seem agitated. In fact, he seemed calm. Now, we all know that when a person makes up their mind to do something, that’s when they’re most calm. Anderson’s mind had been completely made up about what he was going to do.
Smith leaves behind her children, family and friends, and a community to mourn her death. Everyone described her as loving and caring. Her mother spoke of Smith as ‘an angel who has gone on to gain her reward with the Lord’.