School Officials Were Aware That the 6-year-old Shooter in Virginia Might Have a Gun

Administrators at the Virginia school where a first-grader shot his teacher last week found out that the child may have had a gun in his possession before the shooting, but they did not seize the 9mm handgun he brought to his classroom, the school system’s superintendent said.

Superintendent George Parker told parents in an online meeting on Thursday night that a school official knew about the gun before the 6-year-old at Richneck Elementary in Newport News shot the teacher.

WAVY-TV showed a clip of the meeting where the superintendent told parents, “At least one administrator was told about a possible weapon in the time frame we’re looking at and knew that the student had, or could have had, a weapon on campus.”

The online meeting was only for parents, but WAVY-TV said that a parent gave the station access to the meeting. The Associated Press sent multiple messages to the superintendent and a school spokeswoman, but neither of them answered.

There were no immediate details about how they found out about the gun or why it wasn’t found before the shooting. The police chief has said before that the gun was in the boy’s backpack when he went to school.

Abigail Zwerner, a 25-year-old teacher, was shot in the chest, and her injuries were at first thought to be life-threatening. Her condition has gotten better, though, and she is now stable at a hospital.

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Lisa Surles-Law, the head of the Newport News School Board, said earlier Thursday that metal detectors will be put in all schools, starting with Richneck.

The shooting happened on January 6 while Zwerner was teaching her class. Authorities said that the 6-year-old boy pointed the gun at Zwerner without any warning or struggle.

Chief of Police Steve Drew has said that the shooting was planned. The child is being kept at a medical facility because of an emergency custody order. A judge will decide what will happen next with the child.

Drew said that the child used the gun that his mother had legally bought. It’s not clear how he got the gun in his hands. A Virginia law makes it a misdemeanor to leave a loaded gun where a child under 14 can reach it… Follow us on Lee Daily for more news like this.

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