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Teacher shot in classroom by six-year-old student showing signs of improvement

Teacher shot in classroom by six-year-old student showing signs of improvement

The incident has once again sparked the conversation on gun control and school violence in the US

Authorities have confirmed that a first-grade teacher who was seriously injured after being shot by her six-year-old pupil has shown signs of improvement.

Abigail ‘Abby’ Zwerner was shot in the chest by the young student at around 2pm local time on January 6.

The teacher, believed to be in her 30s, was rushed to hospital for surgery following the incident, which unfolded at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News.

Police chief Steve Drew confirmed that the boy, who has not been named, is now in police custody.

Speaking at a press conference on Friday, he said: "The individual is a 6-year-old student. He is right now in police custody.

Abigail Zwerner was shot by a six-year-old student.
Facebook/Abigail Zwerner

"We have been in contact with our commonwealth attorney and some other entities to help us best get services to this young man."

"This was not an accidental shooting," he added. "It was in a classroom, an altercation took place there.

"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."

Although the officer said Zwerner was in critical condition, he explained that her injuries are not believed to be life-threatening and that she had shown ‘some improvement’ in the last update he received.

Newport News Mayor Phillip Jones has since shared a further update, saying she is 'trending in a positive direction'.

"This is a red flag for the country,” Jones added. "I do think that after this event, there is going to be a nationwide discussion on how these sorts of things can be prevented."

The college at which Zwerner previously studied, James Madison University in Virginia, took to Twitter yesterday (January 7) to share 'a message of support for JMU graduate Abby Zwerner from President Alger on behalf of the JMU community'.


An investigation into the shooting, which involved no other students, is underway, with Drew stating: "We’ll get the investigation done, there’s questions we’ll want to ask and find out about.

"I want to know where that firearm came from, what was the situation."

Newport News Public Schools Superintendent, Dr George Parker, said in the press conference that Richneck Elementary School will be closed on Monday (January 9).

He explained: "I’m in shock, and I’m disheartened. We need to educate our children and we need to keep them safe.

"We need the community’s support, continued support, to make sure that guns are not available to youth and I’m sounding like a broken record today, because I continue to reiterate that: that we need to keep the guns out of the hands of our young people."

Police said on Friday that the child was in custody.
Newscom/Alamy Stock Photo

Sebastian Gonzalez-Hernandez, a parent of a child from the same class, was the first to confirm Zwerner's identity to the Daily Mail.

He said that the teacher had ‘screamed at her kids to run away’ after the student fired the gun, telling the outlet: "Even after she'd been shot she was thinking about the safety of her children."

Gonzalez-Hernandez added: "My son didn't see what happened, he heard the gunshot go off, and turned around to see Miss Zwerner on the floor.

"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."

The teacher is in hospital and was said to have shown 'some improvement’ in her condition.
Abigail Zwerner/Facebook

The incident has once again sparked the conversation of gun control in the US, with The Uvalde Foundation For Kids – an organisation dedicated to ending the spread of school violence in America – commenting on the shooting.

The nonprofit said in a statement: "Today's incident highlights, yet again, the need to prioritize in this nation, the protection of our schools, our students and the communities who care for them.

"Yet again, in another school in this nation; students are facing fear - instead of joy; lessons in violence - instead of peace. UNTIL those lessons change, our work continues."

Featured Image Credit: Abby Zwerner/Facebook

Topics: Education, Crime, US News