A 6-year-old student shot his teacher with a gun that belonged to his mother and was in legal possession, police said.
Authorities said that after the boy presented Abby Zwirner when she was teaching at a school in america Virginia.
Police Chief Steve Drew said the boy took the 9mm pistol from a backpack at home on the day of the shooting.
He detailed for the first time at a news conference the shooting that has rocked the city of Newport News and a country now accustomed to gun violence: “What we know today is that she was giving instruction. He showed a gun, He pointed and he fired a shot.”
Mr. Drew has previously said the shooting was no accident, but declined to elaborate.
He said he wanted to clarify comments he made after Friday’s incident, when he said there was an “alteration” before the shooting.
The official said it was more like an “interaction” between the boy and his 25-year-old first-grade teacher at Richneck Elementary School.
But he also reiterated that the shooting “was not accidental.”
“It was intentional,” he said.
The teacher applauds the hero
Mr Drew added that when the weapon fired, Ms Zwirner held her hands up in a defensive position and the bullet passed through her hand and into her upper chest.
While her injuries were initially considered life-threatening, she has recovered and is now in a stable condition in hospital.
Mr Drew hailed Ms Zwerner as a hero for quickly removing students from the classroom after she was shot, and said surveillance footage showed her to be the last person to leave the classroom.
“She turned right, started walking down the hallway, and then stopped … She turned around to make sure every student was safe,” the police chief said.
Mr Drew said a school employee rushed into the classroom after hearing gunshots and physically restrained the boy.
He said the boy became “a bit aggressive” and beat the employee, but police arrived and escorted him out of the building and into a police car.
The child has been held at a medical facility since an emergency custody order and interim detention order were issued on Friday, Mr Drew said.
He said the judge will decide the boy’s next steps. His mother has been questioned by police, but it is unclear if she may face any charges.
As questions mounted about the child and his mother, friends of Ms. Zwerner told the crowd gathered at the vigil on Monday night that the first-grade teacher had shown “respect for what she does day in and day out.” dedication and love”.
“Abby is a fighter and she shows mental and physical strength every day. I’m so proud of her,” said Rosalie List, a second-grade teacher at Richneck.
Lauren Palladini, Richneck’s school counselor, told the crowd that Ms. Zwirner was “sweating profusely.”
“She’s thoughtful. She’s caring. She’s one of the most amazing teachers I’ve ever had the pleasure of interacting with,” the school counselor added.
Amanda Bartley, who teaches at another elementary school in the city, asked for prayers for the injured teacher and “for the young people who did this.”
Many questions remained unanswered, she told reporters.
“How did he get the gun? Why wasn’t it locked? A good gun owner knows you lock your weapon. You have a safety. You separate the ammunition from the weapon itself,” she said.
What will happen to mother and boy now?
Gun owners can be prosecuted under a Virginia law that prohibits anyone from recklessly leaving a loaded, unsafe firearm in a manner that endangers the life or limb of a child under 14.
Violation of the law is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,500.
There are no laws in Virginia requiring unattended firearms to be stored in a particular way, nor are there laws requiring gun owners to affirmatively lock their weapons.
“Virginia’s laws are definitely weaker than many other states that have child exposure prevention laws,” said Alison Anderman, senior counsel and local policy director at the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
Legal experts say that while it is theoretically possible to bring criminal charges against a 6-year-old under Virginia law, there are many obstacles to doing so and it is unlikely that any prosecutors would try.
“It’s almost impossible to imagine a 6-year-old being found competent to stand trial,” said University of Virginia School of Law professor Andrew Bullock, who served as director of the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice from 2014 to 2019.