The San Bernardino gunman left a handwritten note at home which told of ‘fixing things’ and ‘no regrets’ before he shot dead his wife, her special needs student and then himself in her elementary school classroom.
Cedric Anderson, 53, went to North Park Elementary School on Monday morning at 10.25am, signed himself in at the front desk then opened fire on his estranged wife Karen Smith as two students cowered behind her.
Jonathan Martinez, an eight-year-old who suffered the rare congenital disorder Williams Syndrome, died in hospital later. The other boy, who was nine, is recovering in hospital.
Anderson and Smith had been married for just three months when she left him in mid-March. Officials say he wrongly accused her of being unfaithful and that he was trying to win her back but reached ‘boiling point’.
Her grieving mother has since described him as a ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’ and told how he ‘turned’ on his bride the minute they were married.
Detectives investigating the school shooting revealed on Tuesday that the man, who was a maintenance technician and self-described pastor, had been trying to win her back but was also threatening her. She did not take the threats seriously, they said.
After the shooting, police searching the home the couple once shared found a note he had left behind.
It did not give any indication that he was planning murder or suicide, but spoke to his frame of mind before the shooting.
‘The note was on a regular 8×10 piece and included references to fixing the relationship with his wife, as well as feeling disrespected and dishonored.
‘He also wrote about moving forward with his life with no regrets,’ San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said at a press conference on Tuesday.
Despite his threats, no one in Anderson or Smith’s family thought he was capable of such violence.
‘She had no idea she was putting anyone in danger when she went to that school. This is a surprise to us,’ one of her adult sons from a previous relationship said on Tuesday.
Members of his family said he was suffering post traumatic stress disorder and that he had served in the Navy although no record of his service has yet been produced.
Other children who were in the classroom when he opened fire have told how Anderson said nothing as he fired 10 rounds, stopping to reload once, before turning the gun on himself.
He did not target the two children struck, according to police who described them as ‘unfortunate’ victims who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. They were standing behind their teacher when the shots began.
Jonathan’s family paid tribute to him on social media, describing him as an ‘angel’ who was ‘gone too soon’.
School officials eulogized the boy as a ‘happy child’ who had overcome heart surgery as a baby.
‘By all accounts, Jonathan Martinez was a happy child,’ Dale Marsden, superintendent of the San Bernardino City Unified School District, said at the news conference on Tuesday.
Williams Syndrome is a rare congenital condition which causes learning delays, mild-to-moderate intellectual disabilities and heart problems.
‘Children with Williams Syndrome tend to be friendly, social and endearing,’ Marsden added.
The boys’ parents said their only consolation was that the tragedy may raise awareness of their son’s condition.
A GoFundMe page set up by other relatives to help them cope has raised almost $100,000.