School shooting: ‘She thought she had a wonderful husband’ – Sun Sentinel

Karen Smith tied the knot in January with a man she had known for years.

A pastor her own age with a military background, Cedric Anderson seemed like a man of faith with whom she could share the next chapter of her life.

But after they wed and he moved into her Riverside home, another side of her new husband emerged.

Police say Anderson, 53, had previous domestic violence allegations against him, but it’s unclear what Smith experienced. Her mother said it was enough to break up with him and pursue divorce.

On Monday, the tumult of their brief marriage burst into a San Bernardino elementary school. Anderson walked into Smith’s special-needs classroom and opened fire, fatally wounding her before turning the gun on himself, police said. One of Smith’s students, an 8-year-old boy, was also struck by the gunfire and died. A second child was injured.

The violence has devastated Smith’s friends, family and colleagues. It has also exposed a troubled relationship between Anderson and Smith — two people with very different pasts who had once seemed so in love.

“She thought she had a wonderful husband, but she found out he was not wonderful at all,” said Smith’s mother, Irma Sykes. “He had other motives. She left him and that’s where the trouble began.”

At North Park Elementary School, Smith, 53, was known as a caring educator with a special affinity for working with children with learning disabilities. To her classroom, she brought the wisdom and patience of raising four children of her own, who are all now adults.

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