Virginia -- Janurary 10, 2022: The city's mayor said Saturday that a Newport News
teacher who was critically hurt, shot by a 6-year-old student is improving.

Officials are trying to understand how a child so young could be involved in a school shooting.

On Friday, a Richneck Elementary School first-grader shot and wounded the teacher, 25-year-old teacher Abigail Zwerner .

Johns Hopkins University professor Daniel W. Webster studies gun violence. His research demonstrates that young children are increasingly acquiring loaded weapons and accidentally
shooting themselves or others in households and other settings. "A 6 year old gaining access to a loaded gun and shooting him/herself or someone else, sadly, is not so rare," he said in an email.

Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew said Monda he wanted to explain his Friday comments about a "altercation" before the shooting. He described it as a "interaction" between the youngster
and his Richneck elementary school first-grade teacher, 25-year-old Abby Zwerner.

Drew repeated the shooting was "deliberate" and "not accidental".

Drew also stated that the gun was legally purchased by his mother. The day of the shooting, the child carried it to school in his backpack.

Drew said the revolver fired and the bullet went through Zwerner's defensive hand and into her upper chest. She is stable in the hospital despite life-threatening injuries.

Drew praised Zwerner for immediately evacuating her kids after being shot. He stated surveillance footage shows she left her classroom last.Drew said a school employee ran into the classroom and restrained the youngster after hearing the gunfire. He stated the youngster became "a little confrontational" and hit the employee. He was escorted by police.

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

The school will remain closed this week, giving students time to heal.

The boy is being examined at a nearby hospital while under a temporary detention order.


WNCTIMES by Marjorie Farrington 



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