The six-year-old boy who allegedly shot his elementary school teacher in January 2023 will not be charged.

The student shot his teacher, Abigail Zwerner, at Richneck Elementary School on January 6. Zwerner was hit in the chest and wasn’t released from the hospital until more than a week after the incident.


Newport News, Virginia, Commonwealth’s Attorney Howard Gwynn said that after conducting research, they “do not believe the law supports charging and convicting a 6-year-old with aggravated assault.”

In a news briefing, police chief Steve Drew stated that the investigation involved interviewing many witnesses, students and children. In a previous interview, Drew said there was a possibility that the boy’s parents could face charges.

Two weeks after the shooting, the child’s family said that he has an “acute disability” and was part of a program that involved his mother or father attending school with him every day. The week of the shooting was the first in which the boy’s parents were not in class with him.

An attorney representing the boy’s family stated that the gun was secured with a lock and located on the top shelf of the mother’s bedroom closet.

Zwerner’s attorney alleged that the child had a history of violent behavior, including cursing at staff, whipping other students with his belt and choking a teacher. The student was suspended for a day after he allegedly broke Zwerner’s cell phone. They went on to say that after he returned from suspension, he shot Zwerner.

The attorney has also suggested that school officials were warned three different times by teachers that the boy had a gun and alleged that the school administration “failed to act.”

The shooting has enraged community members and parents, who have called for accountability. Since then, the school system’s superintendent and assistant vice principal have left their positions.

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