A six-year-old boy was brought into custody by local police officers after he shot his teacher during his first-grade class at Richneck Elementary in Newport News, Virginia on Jan. 6. Briana Foster Newton, the principal of Richneck Elementary, closed the school for the following Monday and Tuesday so the community had “time to heal”.
It was later reported by Police Chief Steve Drew that the shooting of the teacher was intentional. Law enforcement did not release the name of the teacher or the child, but the teacher was later released to the public by the college she attended, Abby Zwerner. It was not released to the public whether the handgun was in a secure location at the child’s home, but further investigations are planned to take place to verify where the gun was.
The student had shown up on Friday with the loaded handgun, purchased by his mother, that he later fired on Zwerner. The child had aimed only at the teacher and opened fire, shooting one round where the bullet went through her hand and hit her in the chest. After being shot, Zwerner guided her students to a safe place while other school staff restrained the student and waited for law enforcement. Once the cops had arrived, the child got combative and hit one of the staff members while they were trying to restrain him. Officers then escorted him outside to the police cruiser. Zwerner is in stable condition in the hospital.
Although the boy is too young to receive charges, they may be placed on his mother for not keeping her weapon locked away which in Virginia is only a Class 1 misdemeanor. Officers are currently working with Child Protective Services, to do a proper investigation into the environment this child is at home and if there is any history with the family.
A creator on TikTok who often posts current events on her page posted a video regarding this situation. The comments were blaming the teacher for the incident and demanding the child go unpunished. One comment that was posted on TikTok said, “That teacher is not innocent, you can see people put it [blame] all on the child. This world is disgusting.” Another comment said, “What did the teacher do to this kid?” Many of the comments were questioning what the teacher did to the student that would cause this action. Others were saying teachers need more training and that she failed her students, and some comments said the teacher deserved it for whatever she did to the young boy.
The majority of the comments were supporting the charges being placed on the mother, the other majority were supporting the charges being placed on the little boy, but a fair amount were blaming the teacher for the incident.