6-year-old boy who allegedly shot his teacher will not be charged
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The six-year-old boy who allegedly shot his teacher in an incident that shocked the nation will not be charged.
Abigail Zwerner was shot in the chest by a student at Richneck Elementary School in Virginia, US, on January 6.
Though the 25-year-old educator was initially in critical condition, she recovered and was released from hospital more than 10 days later.
Authorities were undecided on how to treat the case due to the age of the child, but prosecutors have since said he won't face any criminal charges.
Newport News Commonwealth's Attorney Howard Gwynn told WTKR on Wednesday (March 8): "After researching this issue thoroughly, we do not believe the law supports charging and convicting a 6-year-old with aggravated assault."
Gwynn went on to say they are not ruling out holding other adults involved accountable for the shooting.
"I can say the prosecutorial efforts are focused on determining what the facts are, applying those facts to the law, and determining whether we can charge anyone with a crime that we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt," he added.
Newport News' police chief Steve Drew previously said the shooting took place while Zwerner was taking class, stating that it was 'not accidental, it was intentional'.
The teacher has been hailed a hero after it was reported that she walked her students to safety despite being injured.
"The 6-year-old child displayed a firearm, pointed it at her and fired one round," Drew said. "There was no physical struggle or fight. She was providing instruction to her class."
He explained that the boy used his mother's gun, which had been purchased legally. Virginia law prohibits leaving a loaded gun where it is accessible to a child under 14.
However, the boy's family released a statement in January claiming that the weapon was 'secured' and that their son is disabled.
A statement shared with NBC News from the family's attorney James Ellenson reads: "Our family has always been committed to responsible gun ownership and keeping firearms out of the reach of children.
"The firearm our son accessed was secured. Our heart goes out to our son’s teacher and we pray for her healing in the aftermath of such an unimaginable tragedy as she selflessly served our son and the children in the school.
"She has worked diligently and compassionately to support our family as we sought the best education and learning environment for our son.
"We thank her for her courage, grace and sacrifice. We grieve alongside all of the other teachers, families and administrators for how this horrific incident has impacted them, our community, and the nation.
“Our son suffers from an acute disability and was under a care plan at the school that included his mother or father attending school with him and accompanying him to class every day.
"Additionally, our son has benefitted from an extensive community of care that also includes his grandparents working alongside us and other caregivers to ensure his needs and accommodations are met.
"The week of the shooting was the first week when we were not in class with him. We will regret our absence on this day for the rest of our lives."