Mother of 6-year-old who allegedly shot teacher could face charges, police chief says

Mother of 6-year-old who allegedly shot teacher could face charges, police chief says


The mother of a 6-year-old boy who authorities say shot his teacher at an elementary school in Virginia could face charges, Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew said Tuesday.

“I think that’s certainly a possibility,” Drew told “CNN This Morning,” a day after police confirmed the boy took the firearm from his home and brought it to school in his backpack on Friday before allegedly to open fire in a classroom at Richneck Elementary. School, injuring a teacher and sending her to the hospital.

Drew has spoken with the commonwealth’s attorney numerous times, he said, but emphasized that the investigation remains ongoing.

“We have to check with Child Protective Services on every story. We have to check with the school system for any behavioral issues they might have and get them together,” he said. “There are still 16, 17 kids that we want to work with a child psychologist to get a statement on.”

“And at the end of the day, when all of this is put together and the facts and what the law supports, the commonwealth’s attorney will make the decision as to whether there are any future charges … against the parents,” Drew said.

Before police discovered the gun was legally purchased by the 6-year-old’s mother, Andrew Block, an associate professor at the University of Virginia School of Law, told CNN there was a scenario where the parents could be held criminally responsible if the gun belonged to them. . and they didn’t keep it properly closed. But in Virginia, that’s only a Class 1 misdemeanor, Block said.

Without more information, “it’s hard to know whether or not there is criminal liability and who should have it,” said Block, the former director of the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice.

The boy was arrested Friday, and Drew said Monday that he was under a temporary restraining order and was being evaluated at a hospital.

Police received a call that a teacher — later identified as first-grade teacher Abigail Zwerner, 25 — had been shot at 1:59 p.m. Friday, Drew said. When officers entered the classroom where the shooting occurred five minutes later, they saw the boy being physically restrained by a school employee.

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

The teacher “was giving instruction in the classroom when the child displayed a firearm, pointed it and fired a bullet,” Drew said at Monday’s news conference. “There was no struggle or physical altercation.”

Zwerner has been praised by city officials for her response. Despite being shot in the chest through her hand, she made sure all of her students left the classroom immediately after the shooting, Drew said. She was the last to leave her classroom, heading to the administration office.

“Abby was faithful as a teacher,” said Newport News Mayor Phillip Jones. “She made sure everyone was accounted for and that she was the last one to leave.”

Although her injuries were previously described as life-threatening, Zwerner was in stable condition, authorities said.

A GoFundMe page set up by Zwerner’s twin sister has raised more than $65,000 since it was set up Monday, donations that will go toward her recovery.

“Abby, my family and I are humbled by the outpouring of support we have received in the days since the event,” Zwerner’s sister wrote. “Thank you for all the prayers, well wishes and kind words.”

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