Newport News Public Schools
richneck entrance

Family of 6-year-old boy who shot his teacher says he has "acute disability"

Jan. 19, 2023
The first-grade student, who has not been identified, allegedly brought a gun to his Newport News, Va., school on Jan. 6 and seriously wounded his teacher.

The 6-year-old boy accused of bringing a gun to school and shooting his teacher in Newport News, Va., has an “acute disability” and had been under an intensive care plan at school, his family has disclosed.

The New York Times reports that a statement released through the family’s lawyer says the boy had previously been accompanied in school each day by his mother or father as part of a plan for dealing with his disability. The family says the week of the shooting was the first time a parent was not in class with him.

The family also stated that the gun, which the authorities said the boy brought from home, had been “secured,” but the statement did not explain how the boy had gotten access to it.

On Jan. 6, the first-grade student brought a gun from his home to Richneck Elementary School and fired the weapon in his classroom, seriously injuring his teacher, Abigail Zwerner, 25.

Zwerner, who sustained wounds in the chest after the bullet passed through one of her hands, has been released from the hospital, CNN reports.

In its statement, the family said Zwerner "“worked diligently and compassionately to support our family as we sought the best education and learning environment for our son.”

Officials with the Newport News school district disclosed last week that on the day of the shooting, the school received a tip that the boy may have had a gun. An employee at Richneck Elementary searched the boy’s backpack but no weapon was found. The shooting occurred later in the day.

No one has been charged in the shooting. The family says the boy " “under hospital care and receiving the treatment he needs."

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy, senior editor, has written for AS&U on a wide range of educational issues since 1999.

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