6-year-old suspected of shooting Newport News teacher
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – A 6-year-old student is in custody following a shooting at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News Friday afternoon that sent a first grade teacher to the hospital, Police Chief Steve Drew confirmed.
School Superintendent Dr. George Parker III said the elementary school will be closed the week of January 9-13.
“It is important that at this time we focus on the welfare of our Richneck students and staff,” said Parker.
The school is located at 205 Tyner Drive, off Jefferson Avenue.
Dispatch received the first call about the incident at 2 p.m. Friday.
The teacher is being treated at Riverside Regional Medical Center, and as of Saturday afternoon, was listed in stable condition, according to a hospital spokesperson.
NNPD also reports her condition has improved; Chief Drew met with the victim and her family Saturday morning.
Saturday afternoon, James Madison University confirmed that the teacher involved in the shooting was alumna Abby Zwerner.
Sources close to Newport News Public Schools told 10 On Your Side’s Michelle Wolf, the teacher was shot in the chest. Officials have not confirmed the extent of the teacher’s injuries.
Chief Drew confirmed a 6-year-old boy is in custody. The boy had a handgun in his possession.
Police said during a press conference Friday evening that the shooting was not accidental and that they are working to learn how the student got a firearm and why the shooting occurred.
No students were injured in the shooting.
The school system sent information to Richneck families in a phone call and email, and posted it to social media about an hour after the incident.
NNPD Chief Steve Drew first spoke with the media around 3:30 p.m. Friday.
At that time, he said all the children were moved to the gym after the incident and were safe. He added that it was no longer an active shooter situation.
Chief Drew confirmed there was one location where a gunshot was fired, and evidence was recovered from that location.
“We did not have a situation where someone was going around the school shooting,” Chief Drew said.
There were counselors at the school talking with the students.
Police assisted with reuniting parents with students at the Richneck gym. Parents and guardians had to present a photo ID to pick up their child. They dismissed students by grade level, Chief Drew said.
“The number one priority for me is to check on our victim at the hospital and get all these students back with their families,” Chief Drew said.
WAVY spoke with Richneck parent Joselyn Glover who said, “My heart stopped. I was freaking out. I was very nervous just wondering was that one person my son?”
The school was on lockdown for about an hour before it was lifted, according to NNPS.
The police department’s response was “almost immediate, very, very quick, within minutes,” said Drew.
Upon hearing the news, Sen. Mark Warner tweeted, “Deeply disturbed by this report and closely monitoring the situation. My thoughts go out to all families and first responders.”
Sen. Tim Kaine also issued a statement, saying, “I’m monitoring this situation closely and praying for the safety of the students, teachers, staff, and first responders at Richneck Elementary School.”
There was a school shooting in Newport News in the fall of 2021, at Heritage High School. In that incident, a student fired several shots in a busy hallway. A 17-year-old boy and girl were wounded by the gunfire. Jacari Taylor was 16 years old when a judge sentenced him to 10 years for the shooting.
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