Abby Zwerner Virginia elementary teacher at Richneck School shot at by 6 year old boy while trying to confiscate gun. Chid is unlikely to ever face criminal charges.
A 6 year old Virginia boy who intentionally shot at a first grade teacher is unlikely to ever face charges because of his age according to a report.
The shooting comes as Abby Zwerner, 25, had just finished reading a story during class, Friday afternoon when the young boy suddenly pulled out a gun.
‘She was going to confiscate it, and that’s when he shot,’ Brittaney Gregory, whose son was also in the class at Richneck Elementary School, told the Washington Post.
The children then raced out of their classroom and into another one for safety where they stayed in a lockdown.
The boy’s first-grade teacher was rushed to hospital with critical injuries. Come Saturday, the Newport News teacher who was shot in the chest was listed in stable condition.
Virginia 6 year old stole mom’s gun to shoot teacher. Will parents face charges? https://t.co/7XD2mXoolc #Abigail Zwerner #Abby Zwerner #Newport News shooting #AbbyZwerner #Richneck Elementary School pic.twitter.com/90UajbLB7Y
— Scallywagandvagabond (@ScallywagNYC) January 10, 2023
The child despite being taken into custody, where he remains, is unlikely to ever be charged with any crime on account of his age.
‘As a practical matter, it would be next to impossible to prosecute a six-year-old, no matter how serious,’ said Andrew Block, associate professor at the University of Virginia School of Law.
Block noted that the ‘infancy defense,’ means that people younger than seven do not have the mental ability to form the intent to commit a crime.
‘The bigger barrier, presuming the prosecution could overcome that, is all defendants have to be competent to stand trial,‘ Block said. ‘That means you have to understand the nature of legal proceedings against you and assist in your own defense. There’s no way a six-year-old would meet that criteria.
‘The juvenile justice system would not be equipped to handle such a young kid.’
Nevertheless the boy’s parents could still face charges.
Under Virginia law, an adult could face misdemeanor charges as guns need to be secured from children under the age of 14.
‘This was not an accidental shooting’
‘There’s way more we don’t know than we do,’ Block said. ‘I can’t imagine what it’s like to be the teacher or teacher’s family; it’s horrible in every single direction.’
Gregory’s son said that the teacher who was shot was his favorite describing her as both bubbly and outgoing.
She was also someone who fostered love and encouragement among her young pupils sometimes leaving surprise notes in the children’s backpacks.
‘I hope you had a great day,’ one read. ‘I want you to know your smile is contagious,’ said another.
‘She’s such a sweet lady,’ Gregory explained to The Post. ‘She’s very attentive to the kids.’
‘The individual is a six-year-old student and is right now in police custody,’ Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew said at a press conference on Friday. ‘This was not an accidental shooting.
Shooting comes week after student brought bullets to school, promising next time they would bring gun
‘It was in a classroom, an altercation took place there,’ he said. ‘We did not have a situation where someone was going around the school shooting. We had a situation in one particular location where a gunshot was fired.’
Classes have been canceled on Monday and Tuesday for all of the 550 students at the school which teaches from kindergarten through fifth grade.
‘It’s very devastating,’ Gregory said of the shooting, never believing such a thing would be possible in her son’s school. ‘It’s sad that such a young child holds so much anger.’
A grandmother of one of the students told the dailymail that a student brought ‘shiny gold bullets’ to school last week, but it is unclear if it is the same child who was taken into custody today.
The grandmother, who asked not to be named, said the child had allegedly ‘brought bullets to school last week and said he would bring his gun.’
‘A parent told the school they did nothing, now look,’ she wrote on Facebook.
Speaking to the dailymail, the woman said: ‘The parents outside stated that their child told them a kid brought golden shiny bullets to school and was thinking about bringing his gun. The student told the parent, who informed the school. And the school just yesterday got back to the parent saying the parent of the kid said it was a nerf bullet and the parent said nerf bullets aren’t shiny and gold.’
She was not positive if the child who brought the bullets is the same child allegedly involved in the shooting today.
Parent, Sebastian Gonzalez-Hernandez confirmed Zwerner’s identity.
‘How does a child have a gun?’
— Sky News (@SkyNews) January 8, 2023
Gun violence in America
He said ‘she screamed at her kids to run away’ after the student fired a single bullet.
‘Even after she’d been shot she was thinking about the safety of her children,’ Gonzalez-Hernandez said.
His own six-year-old, who he did not wish to name, was in the classroom when the gunshot went off.
‘My son didn’t see what happened, he heard the gunshot go off, and turned around to see Miss Zwerner on the floor,’ he told the dailymail on Friday.
‘She is an amazing teacher, so dedicated. My son absolutely loves her, and we’re devastated about what’s happened. We are all thinking of her and hoping that she gets better soon.’