RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The Virginia teacher who authorities say was shot by a 6-year-old student is called a hard-working educator who’s dedicated to her college students and enthusiastic concerning the occupation that runs in her household, in accordance with fellow lecturers and metropolis officers.
John Eley III, a former member of the Newport Information College Board, recognized the first-grade trainer as Abby Zwerner, 25. Zwerner was shot Friday at Richneck Elementary College, authorities stated.
Shortly after the capturing, police stated Zwerner had life-threatening accidents, however she has improved and was listed in steady situation at an area hospital.
Eley and different metropolis officers met with lecturers and the principal on the faculty Friday and later went to the hospital, the place they met with members of Zwerner’s household, together with a number of aunts who are also lecturers.
“The household was all educators and stated she was enthusiastic about doing the job,” stated Eley, who was lately elected to the Newport Information Metropolis Council.
“The custodians and different lecturers spoke about how she’s an excellent teammate, she’s a group participant, she loves her kids, she’s simply an all-around good trainer.”
Cindy Hurst stated her granddaughter, 8, remains to be rattled by the capturing. She was in Zwerner’s class final 12 months, and advised her grandmother she is a superb trainer.
“I simply hate that this occurred,” Hurst told The Virginian-Pilot. “However life as we all know it could not ever be the identical — I don’t know.”
Zwerner attended James Madison College, graduating in 2019 with a bachelor’s diploma in Interdisciplinary Liberal Research and minors in Elementary Schooling and Music. She graduated from JMU’s School of Schooling in 2020 with a grasp’s diploma in Schooling.
JMU President Jonathan Alger provided a message of help for Zwerner, her household, buddies and fellow lecturers, college students and their households.
“JMU is ready to help these impacted by this incident now and within the weeks to come back,” Alger tweeted Saturday.
Police Chief Steve Drew stated the boy shot and wounded the trainer with a handgun in a first-grade classroom. He was later taken into police custody. Drew stated the capturing was not unintentional and was a part of an altercation. No college students had been injured.
Police have declined to explain what led to the altercation or some other particulars about what occurred within the classroom, citing the continuing investigation. They’ve additionally declined to say how the boy received entry to the gun or who owns the weapon.
Virginia legislation doesn’t enable 6-year-olds to be tried as adults. As well as, a 6-year-old is simply too younger to be dedicated to the custody of the Division of Juvenile Justice if discovered responsible.
A juvenile choose would have authority, although, to revoke a father or mother’s custody and place a toddler underneath the purview of the Division of Social Companies.
Mayor Phillip Jones wouldn’t say the place the boy is being held.
“We’re guaranteeing he has all of the providers that he at the moment wants proper now,” Jones stated Saturday.
Consultants who examine gun violence stated the capturing represents an especially uncommon incidence of a younger baby bringing a gun into faculty and wounding a trainer.
“It’s very uncommon and it’s not one thing the authorized system is de facto designed or positioned to take care of,” stated researcher David Riedman, founding father of a database that tracks U.S. faculty shootings courting again to 1970.
He stated Saturday that he’s solely conscious of three different shootings attributable to 6-year-old college students within the time interval he’s studied. These embody the deadly capturing of a fellow scholar in 2000 in Michigan and shootings that injured different college students in 2011 in Texas and 2021 in Mississippi.
Riedman stated he solely is aware of of 1 different occasion of a scholar youthful than that inflicting gunfire at a college, by which a 5-year-old scholar introduced a gun to a Tennessee faculty in 2013 and by accident discharged it. Nobody was injured in that case.
Newport Information is a metropolis of about 185,000 individuals in southeastern Virginia recognized for its shipyard, which builds the nation’s plane carriers and different U.S. Navy vessels.
Richneck has about 550 college students in kindergarten by way of fifth grade, in accordance with the Virginia Division of Schooling’s web site. Jones stated there might be no lessons on the faculty Monday and Tuesday.
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