HomeUS News updateProsecutor gets case involving 6-year-old who shot teacher at Va. elementary school

Prosecutor gets case involving 6-year-old who shot teacher at Va. elementary school

Newport News, Va. — In the Virginia town where a 6-year-old boy shot his teacher, detectives have completed their criminal investigation and forwarded it to the local prosecutor’s office for review, Newport News’ police chief said Tuesday.

Chief Steve Drew spoke about the case during a Facebook Live chat, though he offered few details.

Police say the boy used his mother’s 9mm handgun when he shot and wounded teacher Abigail “Abby” Zwerner while she was teaching her class at Richneck Elementary on January 6.

Police said the mother’s gun was legally purchased. The parents’ attorney, James S. Allenson stated that the weapon was in a safe on a top shelf in the mother’s closet and had a trigger lock.

Drew said his department’s investigation was turned over Tuesday morning to the local prosecutor, known as the Commonwealth’s Attorney, who will determine whether any charges will be filed.

Drew said, “I completely understand people wanting to keep the case open and shut – we don’t have that here.”

abigail zwerner
Abigail Zwerner.AB Zwerner via Facebook

Newport News Commonwealth’s Attorney Howard E. Gwynn told The Associated Press that city detectives handed over three binders of information to his office. Those files do not include body camera footage from the dozens of police officers who responded to the shooting. That video will also be reviewed.

“It’s a lot of information and we’re going to review it as carefully as we do every case,” Gwynn said.

Legal experts have said that even though it is theoretically possible to criminally charge a 6-year-old child under Virginia law, there are many barriers to doing so and it is highly unlikely that a prosecutor will even try.

But adults can be held accountable. For example, a Virginia law prohibits leaving a loaded gun where it is accessible to a child under 14, a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum sentence of one year in prison and a $2,500 fine.

The shooting has sent shock waves through Newport News, a shipbuilding city of about 185,000 people near the Chesapeake Bay. the school system has installed metal detectors The superintendent and assistant principal of the school where the shooting took place has resigned.

Zwerner spent almost two weeks in the hospital before coming home to continue his recovery. Her attorney has sent notice to the school district that she intends to sue. So there are families of two students in the primary school.



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