Abby Zwerner/Facebook

First-grade teacher shot by 6-year-old student at Virginia elementary school

Jan. 9, 2023
Abigail Zwerner, a teacher at Richneck Elementary in Newport News, is in stable condition with a gunshot wound.

A 6-year-old boy was in police custody after he shot a teacher Friday at an elementary school in Newport News, Va.

CNN reports that the shooting occurred in a first-grade classroom at Richneck Elementary School, and that a single shot was fired. No other students were involved.

The teacher, Abigail Zwerner, 25, was reported in stable condition at an area hospital, according to a statement from Newport news Public Schools Superintendent George Parker III.

On Monday, the Associated Press reported that Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew held a news conference and described the shooting: The student pulled the gun out, pointed at the teacher and fired at her. There was no physical struggle over the gun preceding the gunshot. No students were injured.

The bullet went through Zwerner's hand and into her upper chest, "but she was still able to get all of her students out of that classroom," Drew said.

Drew said that the gun had been legally purchased by the child’s mother in York County, Va. The child put the weapon in his backpack and brought it to school.

Richneck Elementary will be closed the entire week, the school announced.

Newport News Mayor Phillip D. Jones said Saturday authorities were working to answer questions the community has grappled with since the shooting.

“It is almost impossible to wrap our minds around the fact that a 6-year-old 1st grader brought a loaded handgun to school and shot a teacher; however, this is exactly what our community is grappling with today,” the mayor said in a statement posted on Twitter.

MORE. WAVY-TV Video of Monday news conference:

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy has been writing about education for American School & University since 1999. He also has reported on schools and other topics for The Chicago Tribune, The Kansas City Star, The Kansas City Times and City News Bureau of Chicago. He is a graduate of Michigan State University.

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