6-year-old used mom’s gun to shoot Virginia teacher; police reveal heroic actions following shot

6-year-old used mom’s gun to shoot Virginia teacher; police reveal heroic actions following shot

Police found the 9mm handgun used by the 6-year-old Virginia boy who shot his teacher was legally purchased by his mother.

Additional details about the school shooting that injured teacher Abby Zwerner, 25, came to light during a news conference Monday.

The boy took the firearm from his home to school in his backpack on the day of the shooting.

“What we know today is that she was giving instructions. He displayed a firearm, he pointed it and he fired a bullet,” said Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew.


Drew previously said the shooting was not accidental and declined to elaborate, but said he wanted to clarify comments he made shortly after Friday’s shooting, when he said there was a “fight” between the boy and his homeroom teacher. seen. . Rather, he said it was more like an “interaction” between the two before the shooting at Richneck Elementary School.

Zwerner put her hand in a defensive position when the gun fired and the bullet went through her hand and into her upper chest, Drew said. Although her injuries were initially considered life-threatening, her condition has improved and she is currently listed as stable in hospital.


Messages of support for teacher Abby Zwerner, who was shot by a 6-year-old student, adorn the front door of Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Virginia. on Monday, January 9, 2023. The Virginia teacher who authorities say was shot by a 6-year-old student is known as a hard-working educator, dedicated to her students and enthusiastic about the profession that runs in her family. (AP Photo/John C. Clark)

The police chief hailed Zwerner a hero for quickly getting her students out of the classroom even after she was shot. He said surveillance video shows she was the last person to leave her classroom.

“She made sure all those kids were out of that room. She was the last one to leave … after suffering a gunshot wound, to make sure her students … were safe,” Drew said.


Willow Crawford, left, and her older sister Ava, right, join friend Kaylynn Vestre, center, to show their support for Richneck Elementary School first-grade teacher Abby Zwerner during a vigil with candles in her honor at the School Administration Building in Newport News. Virginia, Monday, January 9, 2023. Zwerner was shot and wounded by a 6-year-old student while teaching a classroom on Friday, January 6. (AP Photo/John C. Clark)

A school employee reportedly rushed into the classroom and physically restrained the boy after hearing the shots. The boy became “a little belligerent” and hit the employee, Drew said. He was escorted out of the building and into a police car after officers arrived.

The boy has been held at a medical facility since an emergency restraining order was issued Friday, Drew said. He said it will be up to a judge to determine what the next steps are for the boy. He also said the boy’s mother has been interviewed by police, but it is unclear if she could face any charges.

“Drew says the gun was legally purchased in York County by the child’s mother. It’s still unclear how the student got hold of the gun and brought it to Richneck Elementary. Drew says only one round was fired, but several rounds were inside the gun’s magazine “Authorities also confiscated a cell phone and a backpack from the scene,” WAVY-TV reports.

Police respond to a shooting at Richneck Elementary School, Friday, Jan. 6, 2023, in Newport News, Virginia. (Billy Schuerman/The Virginian-Pilot via AP)

Gun owners can be prosecuted under a Virginia law that prohibits anyone from carelessly leaving a loaded and unsecured gun in a manner that endangers the life or limb of children under 14. Violation of this law is a misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum prison term of one year and a maximum fine of $2,500.

Virginia does not have a law requiring unattended guns to be stored in a particular manner or a law requiring gun owners to positively lock their guns.

Legal experts said that while it is theoretically possible under Virginia law to criminally charge a 6-year-old child, there are many obstacles to doing so, and it is highly unlikely that any prosecutor would even try.

To be tried as an adult in Virginia, a minor must be at least 14 years old. A 6-year-old is also too young to commit to the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice if convicted. Additionally, a common law doctrine known as the “infancy defense” states that children under 7 cannot be prosecuted for a crime because they are so young that they are incapable of forming criminal intent.

A classroom shooting at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Virginia, happened Friday after an incident between a student and a teacher, officials said. (Schuerman/The Virginian-Pilot, via Associated Press)

A judge would also have to find that the child was competent to stand trial, meaning he could understand the legal proceedings against him and help defend himself, said Andrew Block, a professor and at the University of Washington School of Law. University of Virginia. director of the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice from 2014 to 2019.

“It’s virtually impossible to imagine a 6-year-old being found competent to stand trial,” Block said.


Classes are canceled at Richneck Elementary School until Friday.

Families are invited to participate in a virtual town hall at 6:30 p.m. Thursday as school officials plan to return students to the classroom, according to WAVY. A registration link will be emailed to all Richneck families on Tuesday.

Sarah Rumpf of Fox News and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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