Two adults were found dead in a classroom and two students are hospitalized in critical condition after a shooter walked on to the North Park Elementary School campus in San Bernardino on Monday and opened fire in what the police chief characterized as a suspected murder-suicide.
Authorities responded to the elementary school, located at 5378 N. H St., to a report of an active shooter just before 10:30 a.m., according to San Bernardino City Unified School District spokeswoman Maria Garcia.
When officers responded, they found a man and a woman dead in a classroom, as well as two injured students, according to San Bernardino Police Department Chief Jarrod Burguan.
The gunman was among those who were down, according to the chief, who said police believe there was no further threat to the school.
One of the victims was a teacher, San Bernardino City Unified School District spokeswoman Maria Garcia confirmed.
The coroner’s office remained at the crime scene as of early afternoon, and authorities have not yet released the identities of the deceased woman and man.
The two students received gunshot wounds and were airlifted to a local hospital; both were listed in critical condition.
“We do not know the age of the students. We do not know the grade that the teacher taught,” Garcia said.
A motive for the shooting was not immediately known.
The relationship between the shooter and the female adult victim is also under investigation, but San Bernardino Capt. Ron Maass said at an early afternoon news conference that the man had gone to the classroom to visit the woman.
The children, he said, were not the gunman’s targets.
“We believe the two children were the unfortunate recipients of injuries by being in the proximity to the female at the time of the incident,” Maass said.
The parents of both student victims have been notified.
“This is a tragic incident that has befallen our city,” police Lt. Michael Madden said at the news conference.
The shooter died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to authorities.
He had gone to the school to visit the female teacher, according to San Bernardino Superintendent Dale Marsden. He had his ID and checked in to the school’s front office, which is the only point of entrance to the school while classes are in session.
The elementary school does not have uniformed police officers or campus security, unlike the district’s middle and high schools, according to Garcia.
“Our middle schools have campus security and all of our high schools have uniformed police officers,” she said.
Garcia explained that the district re-examined its security measures after the Dec. 2, 2015, terror attack that left 14 dead at the Inland Regional Center, which is about 7 miles south of North Park. All district principals have had lockdown training and know “exactly what to do” if there’s an active shooter report, she said.
“Especially after Dec. 2 we actually took a closer look at all of our campuses and what we can do to increase student security and campus safety. The majority of our principals have participated in lockdown training … They know exactly what to do and what they need to do to keep students safe,” Garcia said.
Following the shooting call, police arrived on scene within four minutes of getting the call.
The San Bernardino County Fire Department first confirmed there were multiple victims at approximately 10:45 a.m., but did not provide a count.
Students at Cal State University San Bernardino, which is not far from the elementary school, were asked to shelter in place amid the active shooter report, the college tweeted. The shelter in place order was removed about an hour later.
North Park students were taken to Cajon High School — located at 1200 W. Hill Dr., a few blocks from the elementary school — “for safety,” Burguan tweeted. Parents have been asked to go to the high school and have a picture ID in order to pick up their students, the School District tweeted.
“If parents are looking to reunite with their children, all kids are being transported to Cajon High School,” Garcia said.
All students were evacuated from the North Park campus by noon, according to the district spokeswoman.
Some students may need to be interviewed by authorities, which could take up to three hours, authorities said. Police have urged parents who are going to pick up their children to be patient.
The students are being “well cared” for at Cajon, according to Vicki Cervantes of the county’s Sheriff’s Department. She tweeted that the children were having snacks, playing games and watching a Disney movie as they waited to go home.
The most recent enrollment data from the state, for the 2015-2016 school year, showed that there were 531 students enrolled at the elementary school.
In addition to North Park, Cajon Elementary School and Hillside Elementary School were also initially placed on lockdown, according to the school district. Those lockdowns have since been lifted.
North Park will be closed for the next two days.
Parents with questions are urged to call the district office at 909-381-1100.
The county’s Department of Behavior Health tweeted that it is monitoring the situation and is preparing to deploy health crisis teams to the school, as needed.
KTLA’s Tracy Bloom Jennifer Thang reporting.