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Police updates: 6-year-old who shot Virginia teacher brought gun from home

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Residents of Newport News hold a candlelight vigil in honor of Richneck Elementary School first grade teacher Abby Zwerner n Newport News, Va., Jan. 9, 2023.

Residents of Newport News hold a candlelight vigil in honor of Richneck Elementary School first grade teacher Abby Zwerner at the School Administration Building in Newport News, Va., Monday, Jan. 9, 2023. Zwerner was shot and wounded by a 6-year-old student while teaching class on Friday, Jan.6.

John C. Clark, Associated Press

The 6-year-old boy who shot a teacher at a Virginia elementary school last week brought his mother’s gun, which she had bought legally, from home to school, police said on Monday.

What we know about the shooting

The boy allegedly brought the 9mm Taurus pistol in his backpack to Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Virginia, before shooting his teacher on Friday.

“What we know today is that she was providing instruction. He displayed a firearm, he pointed it and he fired one round,” Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew said, per The Associated Press.

The shooting was not accidental, the police chief continued. “It was intentional.”

The teacher, Abby Zwerner, put up her hand defensively when she saw the gun, and was shot through the hand and in the chest. She was then able to make sure all of the other students safely left the classroom before another school employee restrained the boy.

Zwerner is now in a stable condition at the hospital, CNN reported.

Where is the 6-year-old boy now, and what will happen next?

The boy is being held at a medical facility while under a temporary detention order.

It is unclear if the boy will be charged. Legal experts told The Associated Press that the boy could theoretically be charged, but that “it’s highly unlikely,”  because a judge would have to find the child competent to stand trial.

“It’s virtually impossible to imagine a 6-year-old being found competent to stand trial,” Andrew Block, a professor at the University of Virginia School of Law, told The Associated Press.

The mother, on the other hand, may faces charges. Under Virginia law, it’s a misdemeanor to leave a loaded gun out and accessible to children under the age of 14, The New York Times reported. But it is still unclear how the boy got his mother’s gun, and if the mother will be charged.