At least three people were killed and one more was injured in a shooting at an elementary school in California on Monday, authorities said.
San Bernardino Police Department Chief Jarrod Burguan tweeted the shooting, which took place in a classroom at North Park Elementary School, was a murder-suicide.
At a press conference, Burguan said 53-year-old Cedric Anderson killed his wife, 53-year-old special needs teacher Karen Elaine Smith, before taking his own life.
Burguan said an 8-year-old student who was injured later died in the hospital.
Another student was hospitalized in stable condition.
A school official said the attack was believed to stem from a “domestic dispute” and that the teacher knew the gunman.
Three nearby schools were put on lockdown.
The 600 other students at the school were bused to safety at California State University’s San Bernardino campus, several miles away. Television news footage showed students, escorted by police officers, walking off campus hand-in-hand.
As word of the shooting spread, panicked parents raced to the school, some in tears, some praying as they anxiously sought information about their children. They were told to go to a nearby high school where they would be reunited.
Four hours later, the children began to arrive at the high school, getting hugs from emotional parents. As the students got off the buses, many of them carrying glow sticks they had been given to pass the time with, police officers applauded and high-fived them.
When the buses first pulled away, some parents ran alongside, waving and trying to recognize their children inside. Many said their children were too young to have cellphones. Others said the phones rang unanswered.
Among those waiting anxiously at the high school for her 9-year-old granddaughter’s return was Alberta Terrell, who said she cried with relief when she was told that a family friend saw the girl getting safely onto a bus.
“I was really elated. But I won’t be truly happy until I see her and can give her a big hug,” Terrell said as she sat in the bleachers near Cajon High School’s baseball diamond.
“It’s frustrating for us as parents but also understandable,” Holly Penalber said of the long wait, which most parents seemed resigned to.
Penalber’s 9-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter attend the school. She called Monday’s shootings “every parent’s worst nightmare.”
San Bernardino, a city of 216,000 people about 60 miles east of Los Angeles, was the site of a December 2015 terror attack that killed 14 people and wounded 22 others at a meeting of San Bernardino County employees.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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