A school official who shot a 6-year-old learned that the child may have been armed before the shooting, but searched his school bag but could not find it, an official said.
Abigail Zwerner, 25, was shot in the chest by a student at Richneck Elementary School in Richneck, Virginia, on Jan. 6. Although her injuries were initially feared to be life-threatening, she is now considered to be in stable condition.
Authorities said there was no warning or struggle before the shooting, which happened while Ms. Zwerner was in class.
But local school system superintendent George Parker told parents in an online meeting that a school official had been briefed about the 9mm pistol before the Newport News shooting.
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“In the schedule that we’re reviewing, at least one administrator has been informed of the possible presence of a weapon and is aware that the student has, there is a possibility of a weapon on campus,” the superintendent told the parent meeting, according to a clip by local television station WAVY- broadcast on TV.
The boy’s backpack was searched before the shooting, but the gun was not found, he said.
“The student’s bag was searched after it was reported that he may have been armed,” Parker was quoted as saying by the station.
There were no further details on how school staff learned of the weapon. Local police have previously said the boy brought the gun into the school in a backpack.
Police Chief Steve Drew said the unnamed child intentionally shot Ms Zwerner with a gun legally owned by his mother.
The fate of children held in medical facilities under emergency custody orders will be determined by a judge.
Virginia law does not allow six-year-olds to be tried as adults. Additionally, the boy is too young to be placed in the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice if convicted.
The local school district said Thursday it will install metal detectors at all schools, starting with Richneck Elementary.