A teacher in Newport News, Virginia received life-threatening injuries while trying to confiscate a gun from a 6-year-old child last Friday. The child shot the teacher in the process and was taken into custody. The teacher has been identified as Abby Zwerner and is reportedly now in stable condition.
Community, Students Are in Shock After First Grade Teacher Was Shot in the Chest
According to Newport News police Chief Steve Drew, the 6-year-old boy possessed a registered gun that belonged to his mother.
Drew said that the teacher was “providing class instruction when the 6-year-old child displayed a firearm, pointed it at her and fired one round.” He added that, while there was no struggle or fight, a bullet pierced through the teacher’s hand and shot her in the chest.
At this point, it is not clear how the 6-year-old obtained his mother’s gun or if it was secured.
Newport News Mayor Phillip Jones told CNN that the incident has shaken up the community.
“It’s a very difficult thing to process,” he said. “The fact that we have a 6-year-old individual with the ability to bring a gun into school and harm his teacher — something that we’re still grappling with.”
Shooting victim Abby Zwerner is a 26-year-old first-grade teacher at Richneck Elementary School. According to statements made by Newport News city officials, school faculty, staff, and police responded heroically and in a unified way. Zwerner was rushed to the hospital, the police came right away, the boy was taken into custody, and no one else was hurt.
Parents Are Rightfully Upset That a 6-Year-Old Can Somehow Obtain a Gun
However, the fact that a 6-year-old child could obtain a gun and bring it to school is terrifying.
“It’s a dark day for Newport News,” Mayor Jones said. “We’re going to learn from this and we’re going to come back stronger.”
According to EdWeek, there were 51 school shootings resulting in injuries or deaths in 2022 in the United States. Comparatively, in 2021, there were 35. The year before, there were 10. 2018 and 2019 each had 24. 100 deaths and 279 injuries have resulted in school shootings since 2018. EdWeek provides a chart here that shows the disturbing trend of rising gun violence.