NEWPORT NEW, Va. (WRIC) — Newport News leaders held a press conference on Monday, Jan. 9, to discuss the shooting of first-grade teacher, Abby Zwerner, by her 6-year-old student on Friday, Jan. 6.
Zwerner — who is currently in stable condition — was reportedly in the middle of teaching her class at Richneck Elementary when one of her students pulled out a 9mm handgun and fired a single shot through the teacher’s hand and chest.
“She made sure every one of those kids were out of that room. She was the last one to leave … after suffering a gunshot wound, to make sure her students … were safe,” said Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew.
According to police, Zwerner’s first question upon his visiting her was “do you know how my students are?”
Drew said that following the class’s evacuation, an unnamed school employee ran into the classroom and managed to restrain the 6-year-old shooter until police arrived.
Following the incident, the parents of the child met with authorities. The gun was found to have been bought legally in York County by the child’s mother. Police said it is still unclear how the child got ahold of the gun but Drew did emphasize that the shooting was not accidental.
Newport News Superintendent George Parker said that although the school district has safety protocols for active shooter situations, they were not prepared for a 6-year-old to shoot a teacher, given the incident’s unprecedented nature.
The school district already uses metal detectors at secondary schools but is now considering using them at elementary schools as well, according to Parker.
There will be no classes at Richneck Elementary School this week. Parker says he is still receiving feedback from the community as to when to resume classes.