A first-grade Virginia teacher was shot by a 6-year-old student on Friday. According to the New York Post, the shooting occurred when the teacher attempted to confiscate a gun from the student.
— New York Post (@nypost) January 9, 2023
“Not An Accidental Shooting”
The teacher, named Abby Zwerner, was shot around 2 p.m. on Friday at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Virginia.
According to the Newport News Police Department, the 25-year-old has been listed in serious but “stable condition” since the incident.
Brittaney Gregory, the mother of another child who was in the classroom when the shooting occurred, spoke with the Washington Post.
She was going to confiscate it — and that’s when he shot.
The 6-year-old student was taken into custody after the incident. According to Police Chief Steve Drew, the shooting resulted from a fight. And was “not an accidental shooting.”
However, authorities are still unclear about the exact details of the fight prior. Nor have they learned how the 6-year-old managed to get ahold of the weapon.
Zwerner has since been hailed as a hero for instructing the other students to flee the classroom when the shooting occurred. According to the outlet, the children ran to another classroom and remained under lockdown.
Gregory Shares More Details About Zwerner
Gregory told reporters that the 25-year-old teacher was her son’s favorite. She added that Zwerner would leave kind notes in the children’s backpacks, like some she left her son.
I hope you had a great day.
I want you to know your smile is contagious.
Gregory said her son is “still in shock” since the shooting. And is now suffering from nightmares.
He normally sleeps in his own room but the night of the shooting he came into my room. He was talking in his sleep, saying we got to get out of here.
A Student Shares Their Experience Of The Horrifying Incident
A fifth-grader named Novah Jones was in another classroom during the time of the shooting. She recalled the experience to CNN.
“We were doing math … an announcer came on she was like, ‘Lockdown, I repeat lockdown.’ I was scared … it was like my first lockdown and I didn’t know what to do, so I just hid under my desk like everybody was.
Jones texted her mother Kasheba Jones to inform her about the lockdown.
I texted her, ‘Mom, help.’
Her mother shared her immediate reaction to her daughter’s text.
I couldn’t breathe I was in shock.
The fifth grader has since experienced “flashbacks.” And found it difficult to sleep at night. She told reporters that she is worried that the boy “still had the gun and he was going to come to my house.”
The 6-Year-Old’s Fate
Andrew Block, an associate professor at the University of Virginia School of Law, believes it is unlikely the child will be prosecuted. According to Block, there is no minimum age for a person to be charged with a crime in Virginia. However, the child’s “infancy defense” could prevent that from happening.
As a practical matter, it would be next to impossible to prosecute a 6-year-old, no matter how serious… The bigger barrier, presuming the prosecution could overcome that, is all defendants have to be competent to stand trial… That means you have to understand the nature of legal proceedings against you and assist in your own defense. There’s no way a 6-year-old would meet that criteria.
However, the associate professor added that an adult could face misdemeanor charges if the pistol came from the child’s home. Under Virginia state law, guns must be secured from children under the age of 14.
Newport News Mayor Phillip Jones shared a statement with CNN on Sunday.
There’s a lot of questions that we have to answer as a community. Up with, how a 6-year-old was able to have a gun, know how to use it in such a deliberate manner… The individuals responsible will be held accountable. I can promise that.
According to CNN, Richneck Elementary School will remain closed through Friday to give students “time to heal.”