The horrific story of a teacher being shot and seriously wounded by her six-year-old student has taken a turn for the worse, as it is now reported that at least one administrator was aware the student had a gun and school officials did not respond to the teacher’s pleas for help minutes before the shooting.
First-grade teacher Abigail Zwerner was shot in her classroom at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Virginia, on Jan. 6 by a six-year-old male student. The boy reportedly took a pistol owned by his mother and shot Zwerner in the chest after previously stating he wanted to light Zwerner on fire and watch her die.
Zwerner, reportedly texted a loved one before the shooting, noting that a student had a gun and that school officials were not responding to her pleas for help.
NBC News reported that a source close to the matter said Zwerner sent an emergency text to a loved one, stating a student had a gun in his backpack and school officials were not responding to her calls for aid.
The source said: “[Zwerner] was frustrated because she was trying to get help with this child, for this child, and then when she needed help, [but] no one was coming.”
On Wednesday, Diane Toscano, Zwerner’s attorney, announced she will file a lawsuit against the Newport News Public Schools.
The investigation is ongoing. Newport News Public Schools spokesperson Michelle Price said:
“Anything that has been reported to our school leadership team in regards to concerns at Richneck from teachers and staff members is part of the investigation. It’s being thoroughly investigated.”https://twitter.com/ScallywagNYC/status/1612678929034231809?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1612678929034231809%7Ctwgr%5E0da218e4e3133f6cc0a6b79cfbf1d1b494205b9e%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.dailywire.com%2Fnews%2Fteacher-shot-by-6-year-old-reportedly-texted-warning-to-loved-one-that-child-was-armed-no-school-officials-came
Newport News Superintendent George Parker III stated at a virtual townhall that the boy had “come to school late and his book bag [was] inspected when he was signed in,” adding, “at least one administrator was notified of a possible weapon.”
A Newport News police spokeswoman confirmed that “a school employee was notified of a possible firearm at Richneck Elementary before the shooting occurred,” adding that “the Newport News Police Department was not notified of this information prior to the incident.”
Zwerner was shot in the chest and suffered “life-threatening injuries.”
A mother of a student who witnessed the event told The Washington Post that Zwerner “was going to confiscate [the weapon], and that’s when he shot.”
Another parent of a student in the class told the Daily Mail that Zwerner “screamed at her kids to run away … even after she’d been shot, she was thinking about the safety of her children. 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,” the father added. “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.”
Juvenile Justice expert Andrew Block noted the difficulty of prosecuting the case, pointing to the “infancy defense,” telling the Post:
“As a practical matter, it would be next to impossible to prosecute a 6-year-old, no matter how serious. The bigger barrier, presuming the prosecution could overcome that, is all defendants have to be competent to stand trial. That means you have to understand the nature of legal proceedings against you and assist in your own defense.”
Block concluded: “There’s no way a 6-year-old would meet that criteria.”
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