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Six year old who allegedly shot teacher in Newport News will not face charges: report

FILE – Messages of support for teacher Abby Zwerner, who was shot by a 6-year-old student, grace the front door of Richneck Elementary School Newport News, Va., on Jan. 9, 2023. According to a Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023, media advisory, the first-grade teacher from Virginia who was shot and seriously wounded by a 6-year-old student, has hired a trial attorney to represent her. (AP Photo/John C. Clark, File)

The six-year-old elementary school student in Virginia that shot his teacher in January will not face charges, authorities told NBC on Wednesday.

Howard Gwynn, Newport News Commonwealth’s Attorney, told NBC that his office does not believe there is a legal basis to charge a child in the crime, saying the “prospect that a 6-year-old can stand trial is problematic.”

The news that the student would not be charged comes after he allegedly shot his first grade teacher, Abigail Zwerner, while she was teaching at Richneck Elementary School. Police have characterized the shooting as “intentional.”

Zwerner was shot in the hand and chest and was released from the hospital after two weeks, according to the Associated Press.

Gwynn said that his office was instead focusing on possibly charging others in connection with the shooting.

“Our objective is not just to do something as quickly as possible,” Gwynn said. “Once we analyze all the facts, we will charge any person or persons that we believe we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt committed a crime.”

The shooting sparked outrage in the community, and led to the ouster of the school system’s superintendent and assistant vice principal.

It was later revealed that administrators were not made aware on the day of the shooting that the child possibly had a weapon. After administrators searched the boy’s backpack and found no weapons, police said they never contacted the authorities about the tip.

The family of the six year old said in a statement following the shooting that he had an “acute disability” and that he was receiving care after a court-ordered temporary detention at a medical facility, according to ABC.

Tags Abigail Zwerner gun reform Newport News shooting school shooting Virginia

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