Lawyer: Gun used by student who shot teacher ‘protected’

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) – The family of a 6-year-old boy shot and wounded his teacher in Virginia said Thursday that the gun he used was “protected” and that one of his parents was usually with him in class but not the week of the shooting.

The family’s statement given by a lawyer did not detail where exactly the 9mm gun was placed. The family has not been identified.

“Our family has always been committed to gun ownership and keeping guns out of children’s reach,” the statement said. “The gun found by our son was secured.”

The family also stated that the boy “suffered from a disability and was under a care plan at school that included his mother or father studying with him and accompanying him to class every day.”

The family said the week of the shooting “was the first week we weren’t in class with him. We will mourn our loss today for the rest of our lives.”

The statement was issued by the office of Newport News attorney James S. Ellenson. It’s the first public statement from the boy’s family nearly two weeks after the Jan. 6 incident at Richneck Elementary.

The police previously announced that the mother of the 6-year-old boy bought the gun illegally but it is not certain how her son got it. Virginia law prohibits possession of a firearm by a child under the age of 14, a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison. year and a fine of $2,500.

No charges have been filed against the woman, but the investigation is ongoing, Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew said in one of two Facebook conversations he had with the village on Wednesday.

During the first conversation, the chief was asked at least twice if the boy’s parents would be held accountable or if the mother would be prosecuted. Drew responded by saying he wanted to make sure the police could do a thorough investigation.

“I’m not going to rush them,” Drew said. His department has a good relationship with local prosecutors, he said, and he has “a lot of faith” that “they will make the right decision based on the evidence in front of them.” .”

Investigators have almost finished interviewing the children in the classroom, Drew said, and police are working with a psychologist. to talk to them about what they saw.

“This is an unprecedented incident in our town, where a 6-year-old boy got a gun, brought it to school, pointed it, shot it. and shot his teacher in front of other students,” said the principal. “I have a young teacher who was injured by a gunshot while teaching his classroom. By the grace of God, he is still with us today.”

The shooting drew the world’s attention to the shipyard, which sits along the James River near the Chesapeake Bay. There are many people all over the country struggling to understand how such a thing could happencloud sparking an ongoing debate about how to discipline children.

The statement of the boy’s family also clarifies the relationship between the boy and his teacher, Abikaila Zwerner, who is recovering from the gunshot wound and the police said and teacher is a hero.

“Our hearts go out to our son’s teacher and we pray for his recovery after an unspeakable tragedy as he selflessly served our son and the children at school, ” said the family.

“She worked diligently and compassionately to support our family as we sought the best educational and training environment for our son,” the statement continued. “We thank him for his courage, grace and sacrifice. We grieve with all the other teachers, families and administrators because of this terrible tragedy that has affected them, our communities, and the country.

The family said the boy has been in hospital care since the shooting and is receiving “the treatment he needs.”

“We continue to pray for the full strength of his teacher, and for his loved ones who are undoubtedly sad and worried,” the family said. “At the same time, we love our son and ask that you include him and our family in your prayers.”

The shooting happened while Zwerner was teaching his first grade in Richneck. Authorities say there was no warning and no struggle before the boy took the gun at Zwerner. The bullet pierced his arm and hit his chest, police said. The 25-year-old teacher rushing his students out of the classroom before rushing to the hospital.

Drew, the police chief, described the shooting as “targeted.” The judge will decide what happens next for the child.

The superintendent of Newport News schools revealed last week that Richneck authorities knew the student might have a weapon before the shooting. But a quest the gun was not found, although staff searched his bag.

The show provoked the anger of parents especially teachers. Several school administrators criticized the school board at Tuesday night’s meeting for what they called a misplaced emphasis on attendance and other education statistics over student safety. children and workers.

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