Diane Toscano

Lawyer says before shooting, school leaders were warned 3 times that a 6-year-old boy might have a gun

Jan. 25, 2023
The first grader at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Va., shot his teacher later in the day Jan. 6.

In the hours before a 6-year-old boy shot his first-grade teacher in Virginia, school leaders were warned three times that the boy might have a gun, a lawyer for the teacher says.

The New York Times reports that the lawyer, Diane Toscano, described a series of escalating warnings that happened on Jan. 6, when the police say a 6-year-old boy took his mother’s gun from home, brought it to Richneck Elementary School in Newport News and fired at his teacher, Abigail Zwerner.

Toscano provided the details at a news conference in which she announced her intention to file suit against the Newport News district on behalf of Zwerner.

By about 12:30 p.m. on the day of the shooting, a teacher had searched the boy’s backpack, believing that he might have a gun. No gun was found, but the teacher reported to administrators that she believed the boy had put the gun in his pocket before going outside for recess. Instead of searching the boy, the lawyer says, an administrator dismissed the threat.

Around 1 p.m., another teacher reported that a student had come to the teacher crying, saying that the boy had shown him the gun at recess and threatened to shoot the student if he told anyone.

A third teacher also asked for permission to search the boy, Toscano contends, but was told to wait, because the school day was almost over.

Shortly before 2 p.m., the boy pointed the gun at Zwerner and shot her in front of his classmates in their first-grade classroom.

Video from WAVY-TV: Diane Toscano news conference:

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