6-year-old who shot teacher in January will not face charges, report says

6-year-old who shot teacher in January will not face charges, report says


The 6-year-old boy who allegedly shot his elementary school teacher earlier this year will not face criminal charges, Newport News, Virginia Commonwealth’s Attorney Howard Gwynn told CNN WTKR.

The student allegedly shot and wounded Richneck Elementary School teacher Abigail Zwerner on Jan. 6, leaving her critically wounded by a bullet that grazed her chest. She was released from the hospital more than a week after the shooting.

“After fully researching this matter, we do not believe the law supports charging and convicting a 6-year-old of aggravated assault,” Gwynn told WTKR on Wednesday.

“I can say that the prosecution’s efforts are focused on establishing the facts, applying those facts to the law and determining whether we can charge someone with a crime that we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt,” Gwynn added.

CNN reached out to Gwynn and the attorney for the student’s parents, but did not immediately receive a response.

When reached by CNN, Toscano Law Group, which represents Zwerner, declined to comment.

Newport News police said late last month that they had completed their investigation into the shooting and turned it over to the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office.

“We had a lot of witnesses, a lot of students, a lot of kids to interview and it took a long process,” Police Chief Steve Drew said in a Facebook Live conference call on February 21. “It’s not something we wanted to rush through.”

Gwynn told CNN in February that his office had received “three binders” of investigative material from police and would also review several hours of police body camera footage.

Similar to his comments to the affiliate this week, Gwynn told CNN on February 24 that his office was reviewing the facts and added: “Every person that we can charge and convict beyond a reasonable doubt, we will charge.”

Authorities have not released many details about the child accused of shooting a gun at his teacher.

In a statement released roughly two weeks after the shooting, the boy’s family said “the firearm our son had access to was secured.” The family’s statement went on to say the child has an “acute disability and was under a school care plan that involved his mother or father attending school with him and accompanying him to class each day.”

The week of the shooting was the first week the boy’s parents were not in class with him, they said in their statement, adding: “We will regret our absence on this day for the rest of our lives.”

The shooting followed weeks of questions from community members and concerned parents about how the school and district handled potential red flags before the violence.

A Jan. 24 legal notice sent to the Newport News School Board by Zwerner’s attorney alleged the boy had a history of disturbing behavior, including swearing at staff members, trying to whip students with his belt and choking a teacher. . According to that document, the student was suspended for a day after he allegedly “slammed” and smashed Zwerner’s cell phone and cursed at counselors. When he returned from suspension to Zwerner’s classroom, he shot her, the release said.

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