The estranged husband of a special education teacher who shot and killer her and one of her students before killing himself during a murder-suicide in a San Bernardino classroom Monday was alleged to be a self-proclaimed pastor, but not part of any known church.
"He killed her, and he killed himself," said Irma Sykes, the mother of the victim, Karen Smith.
"And I want to see what he's going to say to God about that."
The Los Angeles Times reported on Tuesday that the shooter, Cedric Anderson, had married Smith back in January, with several people identifying him as a pastor, albeit only self-proclaimed, as his denomination or church membership, if he was a member of a church, has not been revealed.
"He was a deeply religious man," said Najee Ali, a community activist in Los Angeles and executive director of Project Islamic Hope.
"There was never any signs of this kind of violence ... on his Facebook he even criticized a man for attacking a woman."
Sykes said she didn't know the details of what went on in the brief marriage, but police say 53-year-old Anderson had previous domestic violence allegations against him.
Reuters reported on Monday that Anderson stormed into his estranged wife's special-needs classroom and opened fire, fatally wounding her and one of her 8-year-old students, before taking his own life with the gun.
Another 9-year-old student was also injured in the shooting, but survived.
Scared parents said they waited for hours to be allowed to be reunited with their children.
"When I heard about the shooting, I started praying, asking God to keep my daughter safe," said 25-year-old Samantha Starcher. "She heard two gunshots but she didn't know what it was. I'm not going to tell her (about the shooting) because I don't want to traumatize her."
Sykes said the family has been left devastated by what happened.
"She thought she had a wonderful husband, but she found out he was not wonderful at all," Smith's mother said. "He had other motives. She left him and that's where the trouble began."
San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan reportedly said in a press briefing that Anderson had accused his wife of infidelity, according to The Associated Press.
"She effectively kept her private life private," Burguan said, but added that Smith shared with family members in the weeks before the shooting that he had been threatening her.
After their arguments grew more serious, Smith realized she had to leave him.
"She broke up with him and he came out with a different personality. She decided she needed to leave him," Sykes added.
AP also reported that Anderson was a self-proclaimed pastor, with his Facebook page carrying numerous Bible quotes and religious references. Police records showed that he had previously worked as a maintenance worker, and had joined the Navy as a reservist back in the 1980s.
In February, Anderson had posted on Facebook a message to God thanking Him for his wife.
"My worship was pure tonight. God is awesome! My wife Karen is such a pure spirit. She has no guile or pretense. She has no ill will toward anyone. (It amazes me!)," Anderson wrote. "Jesus said blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. Karen's essence is disarming. I've never meet anyone like her."