CNN Reports: Gun Allegedly Used by 6-year-old in Richneck Elementary Shooting was Bought by Child’s Mother, Police Say

You are currently viewing CNN Reports: Gun Allegedly Used by 6-year-old in Richneck Elementary Shooting was Bought by Child’s Mother, Police Say
Updated 6:13 AM EST, Tue January 10, 2023

CNN — The gun allegedly used by a 6-year-old boy to shoot his teacher at a Newport News, Virginia, school was legally purchased by the child’s mother, officials said.

The boy took the firearm from his home to school in his backpack Friday, Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew said Monday.

The teacher was “providing class instruction when the 6-year-old child displayed a firearm, pointed it at her and fired one round,” Drew said at a news conference. “There was no physical struggle or fight.”

The teacher was shot in the chest, through her hand, the chief said. She is in stable condition, he said.

Drew declined to comment on whether the gun had been secured in the home, saying more interviews and investigation were needed.

The boy is under a temporary detention order and is being evaluated at a local hospital.

“We have been in contact with our commonwealth attorney and some other entities to help us best get services to this young man,” Drew said Friday.

Once all interviews are conducted, police will present the information to the commonwealth attorney’s office to determine whether there will be any charges against the parents, Drew said.

The teacher was first identified by her alma mater, James Madison University, as Abby Zwerner.

The school, Richneck Elementary, will be closed this week to give students “time to heal,” the school announced.

The police chief, Newport News mayor and the school superintendent on Monday praised the response by Zwerner, school staff and other teachers after the shooting.

The police department received a call at 1:59 p.m. on Friday that a teacher had been shot, Drew said. When officers entered the classroom where the shooting happened five minutes later, they saw the boy was being physically restrained by a school employee.

The 6-year-old was combative and struck the employee restraining him, and officers took control, escorting him out of the building and into a police car.

The wounded teacher made sure all her students made it out off the classroom just after the shooting, Drew said. She was the last to leave her classroom, making her way to the administration office.

Newport News Mayor Phillip Jones discussed meeting heroes while a Marine and said Zwerner would be welcomed among them anytime.

“Abby was faithful as a teacher,” Jones said. “She ensured that everyone was accounted for and that she was the last one to leave.”

“What we saw were teachers who took immediate response to secure their students,” Newport News Public Schools Superintendent George Parker said. “To make sure they separated themselves from a potential threat – and they responded accordingly.”

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