San Bernardino came together to mourn Monday evening as the community once again faced recovery from tragic violence that took innocent lives.
This time, an elementary school classroom full of special needs children saw their teacher and one of their classmates fatally shot before the gunman turned his weapon on himself. Another student was wounded.
• Photos: Vigil held for those killed, wounded in North Park Elementary School shooting
Police said Cedric Anderson, 53, of Riverside, went to North Park Elementary School at 10:30 a.m. Monday and shot his estranged wife, Karen Elaine Smith, also 53. Two students behind her were wounded, and one Jonathan Martinez, 8, died while a 9-year-old boy was wounded.
On Monday evening community members gathered in Our Lady of the Assumption Roman Catholic Church to find healing for the new wounds, while others made their way to the school to set down candles and flowers.
“You are just a few blocks away from where the tragedy occurred,” Bishop Gerald Barnes said at Our Lady of the Assumption as he thanked Rev. Henry M. Sseriiso for opening the church he administers to the community.
“Sometimes all we can do is cry, and today is the day for that,” Barnes said. “We’ll get up again, we’ll move on, we’ll become stronger. But today is the day to cry that we have come to such a state.”
• Related Story: San Bernardino school shooting leaves North Park teacher, student dead, another student wounded
San Bernardino Mayor Carey Davis told the congregation, “There is little to say that will comfort, so we stand with you, we lift you up in our prayers.”
A few blocks away, about 40 people brought candles and balloons and hand-drawn pictures of rainbows and angels to the corner of the school bound in yellow police tape.
Ryan Concepcion, 11, and a North Park student, said he was there to pay his respects. “It’s just sad, especially in school, and there were two kids involved. He could have hurt more kids.”
T.J. McGuire, 9, who does not go to North Park, said that he was scared and doesn’t want to go to school. His mother, Lourdes Martin, 28, “It’s supposed to be safe zone, but it’s happened too close to home.”
She looked down at her son.
“He breaks my heart.” (Because he doesn’t want to go to school.)
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