Survivor recounts San Bernardino school shooting: ‘He was out for blood’

SAN BERNARDINO >> The man who shot and killed a San Bernardino teacher and an elementary student on Monday also attempted to kill one of the two classroom aides, according to a survivor.

“I don’t feel like he was just out for (Karen) Smith,” said Jennifer Downing, an instructional assistant at North Park Elementary School. “I feel like he was out for blood.”

The three women in Classroom B1 on Monday had only worked together for a short time. Downing has worked for the San Bernardino City Unified School District for a decade, and at North Park for three years. Smith had been a teacher for a decade, but only had been assigned to the classroom this year, after working with special education students one-on-one. A third woman, another instructional aide, had been assigned to the classroom for about a week and a half before the shooting, and was mostly focused on one student with greater needs.

At Tuesday’s news conference, San Bernardino police Chief Jarrod Burguan described Smith as “private.” In fact, she was so private that Downing knew almost nothing about her personal life and had never seen Riverside resident Cedric Anderson before he showed up in his estranged wife’s classroom Monday.

“She never talked about anything,” Downing said. “She never disclosed any private information.”

Early in the year, Smith mentioned she was under stress because she was going through a divorce.

“But that’s all she said,” Downing said.

Downing had no idea that Smith got married on Jan. 28, and only overheard her mentioning it to another teacher later on. She never heard that Smith’s marriage to Anderson was soon in trouble, nor that she had moved out of their shared home in Riverside in mid-March.

“Usually, with the people I’ve worked with over the last 10 years, people talk, they get close,” Downing said. “She’s the most private person I’ve ever worked with.”

School started at 9 a.m. Monday. Classroom B1 has 15 students of mild to severe special needs, including students with…

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