Abby Zwerner (teacher), was shot in the US by a six year-old student. She is now “showing signs” of improvement.
In her 30s, Ms Zwerner was critically injured when she was shot in the class by the boy in an altercation that took place on Friday. Police say it wasn’t accidental.
Phillip Jones, who was the mayor of Newport News, Virginia, at the time of the incident, called it a “red flag” for the country.
He stated that the condition of the Richneck Elementary School teacher is “trending towards a positive direction”, even though she is still in hospital.
In 2020, Ms Zwerner graduated Virginia’s James Madison University. The president of the university released a statement saying that they were “deeply saddened” by the tragedy and that it was “incredibly difficult”.
Initial police statements stated that the injuries to the teacher were “life-threatening”. However, a senior officer met with her Saturday and said that she had “improved” and was currently in stable condition.
Chief Steve Drew stated that the shooting was not accidental and that the victim was the only one. Drew said that the teacher and student had been friends in a classroom setting.
He stated to reporters that he did not know of any situation in which someone was shooting at the school.
He claimed that the boy had a gun in his classroom and that investigators were trying find out how he obtained it.
Jones stated that he believed there would be a national discussion after the event on how to prevent such things.
George Parker III, Superintendent of Newport News Public Schools, stated: “I’m amazed, and in shock, so I’m dismayed.”
Boy is too young for trial
Richneck school officials say there will not be classes on Monday.
Virginia law prohibits six-year-olds from being tried as adults.
A six-year old child is also too young to be placed in the custody of Department of Juvenile Justice, even if convicted.
However, a juvenile judge would be able to remove a parent from custody and place the child under the Department of Social Services.
Jones wouldn’t say where the boy was held but said that they were making sure he had all the services he needs now.
A British mother living in the area spoke out against the school and stated that it was time to change.
Let’s make a difference. Let’s make a difference.
“You have a beautiful country and beautiful people. But what’s the problem?” Guns!” She said.
“I’m only here because my husband is serving in the military. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have come to this country.”
Young children accessing guns ‘is rising’
Professor Daniel Webster of Johns Hopkins University studies gun violence, stated that a six year old shooting at a teacher at school is extremely unusual.
He said that his research has shown that young children are increasingly able to access loaded guns and shoot themselves or others in the home or other settings.
He said that a six-year old could get a loaded gun and shoot himself or another person.
David Riedman, a researcher who created a database tracking shootings at schools in the United States dating back to 1970, stated that it was not something the legal system is positioned to handle.
He claimed that he knew of only three other shootings by six-year old pupils during the period he studied: a shooting death of a fellow pupil 2000 in Michigan, and two other shootings of students in Texas in 2011 and 2021 in Mississippi.
Riedman stated that he knows of only one other case of a student younger then that causing school fire. In this instance, a five-year old brought a gun to school in Tennessee and accidentally fired it.
In that case, no one was hurt.