Six-Year-Old Shooter Attacks Teacher

On Jan. 6, in Virginia, Abigail Zwerner suffered a bullet wound to the chest. A six-year-old student brought a gun into the classroom at Richneck Elementary School and intentionally shot and wounded Zwerner. The bullet remains lodged in her body. 

The administration at Richneck Elementary School was warned four times by different teachers and school employees about the student and his possession of a firearm. The student threatened to harm another child. Zwerner told the administrator that the child was threatening other students. The administration did not take action nor remove the student from the classroom.  

This caused Zwerner to ask the administration to search the six-year-olds backpack for the firearm. The administration found nothing in the boy’s backpack, the teacher then told the administration she believed the boy put the gun in his pocket before going outside for recess. The administration was reported to respond that the boy has little pockets that could not fit a firearm. 

Around 1 p.m. a third teacher told administrators that another student who was scared and crying confessed that the shooter showed him a gun at recess and threatened to shoot him if he told anyone. A fourth employee asked the administrator for permission to search the boy but was denied and was told to wait the situation out because the school day was almost over. 

One hour later Zwerner was shot in the chest. Another teacher went into the classroom after she was shot and restrained the shooter until police arrived.

The announcement came later the same day that the school board had voted the district superintendent out. The school is now under new leadership. 

Representatives for Newport News schools declined to comment on the allegations made by the Zwerner’s attorney, noting that the schools division’s investigation into the incident is still ongoing. Karen Lynch, the extended learning supervisor, is now serving as the administrator at Richneck on special assignments and coordinating the student’s return to instruction. The school is set to re-open to all students on Jan. 30. 

The boy, who has not been named publicly, allegedly took a handgun from his home, put it in his backpack and brought it to school that day before shooting his teacher in an intentional act according to the Newport News Police Department. 

Zwerner was teaching class that afternoon when the student pointed the gun at her and fired one round. The teacher took a defensive position, raising her hand. The bullet went through her head and into her chest. She is said to make a full recovery and is, luckily, alive.