"She made sure that every one of those kids was out of that room and she was the last one to leave," the police chief said.
Trigger Warning: The following article describes gun violence which some readers may find distressing.
The acts of a 25-year-old teacher in Newport News, Virginia, who was allegedly shot by a 6-year-old in her classroom, are being hailed as heroic as she recovers. On January 6, while Abigail Zwerner was teaching at Richneck Elementary School, one of her 6-year-old students took out a gun, pointed it at her, and fired one round. Zwerner was shot in the chest when the bullet passed through her hand, but she still managed to go ahead and save her students, police chief Steve Drew revealed in a press conference on January 9.
Security footage reveals Zwerner was the last person to exit the classroom as she's seen scurrying the children out toward a neighboring spot. While the armed student's actions appeared to be directed at the teacher, Drew said that it's difficult to predict what else might have happened. The gun still had unfired rounds, per TODAY. "She made sure that every one of those kids was out of that room and she was the last one to leave," Drew said, adding that the teacher "saved lives."
Drew shared that he feels disturbed by this tragedy. "I wish we never had to (ask) ... how does a 6-year-old know how to use a firearm? I don't know that I can give you an adequate answer," he said. "It's unprecedented. I don't know how to answer that question."
Newport News Mayor Phillip Jones, in a statement about the incident, said, “This is a red flag for the country. I do think that after this event, there is going to be a nationwide discussion on how these sorts of things can be prevented.” The mayor also shared that the 6-year-old is being held but the police currently do not have a plan for the charges to be filed against the first-grader. “We are ensuring he has all the services that he currently needs right now,” Jones said, per AP.
The mayor of Newport News, Virginia - where a six-year-old elementary student shot his teacher Friday - called the incident a "red flag for the country" https://t.co/AlC8RqjYjA— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) January 7, 2023
According to reports, the first-grader in the class got the gun from his house. Officials claimed that his mother had legally purchased the gun. The 6-year-old suspect was being restrained by another teacher when police arrived at the school, according to Scott. The child is currently being treated at a medical facility, and the police chief was unsure of whether charges would be filed against the child. The child has 96 hours to appear before a judge. “This is an unprecedented situation that we’re dealing with," he said Monday. "We’re dealing with a 6-year-old.”
Zwerner was admitted to a nearby hospital. She is recovering and is in better health. The police chief reports that the heroic teacher has only posed one question to the police, "Do you know how my students are?"
Teacher Abigail Zwerner was able to "get all of her students out of that classroom" after suffering a gunshot wound from a 6-year-old student, an official says.— ABC News (@ABC) January 9, 2023
Zwerner made sure "every one of those students was safe." https://t.co/Yxa6O0GMui pic.twitter.com/dLUe0ElMpB
Cover Image Source: Facebook | Abigail Zwerner