CRIME

San Bernardino school shooting: Student killed had survived heart surgery

Jonathan Hunt reports from San Bernardino, California

 

The 8-year-old boy shot and killed along with his teacher in a California special-education classroom was born with a genetic condition and had survived heart surgery, according to a school superintendent.

Dale Marsden, superintendent of the San Bernardino City Unified School District, said at a news conference Jonathan Martinez had Williams syndrome, a rare disorder characterized by learning delays, mild-to-moderate intellectual disabilities and heart problems.

"By all accounts, Jonathan Martinez was a happy child," he told reporters.

Martinez died at a hospital after being shot Monday in his classroom at North Park Elementary School in San Bernardino by the estranged husband of his teacher, Karen Smith, who also was killed. The gunman, Cedric Anderson, then fatally shot himself.

The superintendent said the Martinez family wanted to honor Jonathan's memory by getting the word out about Williams syndrome.

Children with the syndrome tend to have striking verbal abilities and an affinity for music, according to Marsden.

"Parents often say the joy and perspective the child with this syndrome brings into their lives can be unimaginable," he said.

Those with the disease often have outgoing personalities, according to the National Institutes of Health, and sometimes also attention deficit disorder and anxieties or phobias.

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A candlelight vigil was planned for the victims Tuesday evening at North Park Elementary. The school will remain closed until April 16, Marsden said.

A 9-year-old classmate who also was struck by gunfire is stable, in good spirits and watching cartoons at a hospital, Marsden said. That boy, whose name was not been released, was expected to recover.

Earlier on Tuesday, investigators went the home of Anderson and seized electronics and a note, San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said in a news conference.

Burguan said the note, which investigators believe was written by Anderson, referenced his relationship with Smith, his need for closure and how he felt disrespected. The document, however, did not contain information that would indicate it was a suicide note, according to Burguan.

Anderson had a history of weapons, domestic violence and possible drug charges before his marriage Smith. He was arrested four times between 1982 and 2013, but was never convicted in any of the cases, Burguan said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.