School searched 1st-grader’s backpack before teacher shot

When a first-grader shot his teacher, administrators at an elementary school in Newport News, Virginia knew the boy might have had a gun before the shooting, the school system’s superintendent said.

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Administrators at a Virginia school where a first-grader shot his teacher last week knew the boy might have had a gun, but despite searching his backpack, they were unable to find the 9 mm handgun he brought with him. , said the head of the school system.

School system Superintendent George Parker told parents in an online meeting Thursday night that a school employee was alerted to the gun before the 6-year-old shot a teacher at Richneck Elementary in Newport News.

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“At least one administrator was notified of a possible weapon during the time frame we’re looking at, and that student knew there might be a weapon on campus,” the superintendent told parents in the clip. the meeting was broadcast by WAVY-TV.

He said the boy’s backpack was searched before the shooting, but no gun was found at that time.

“The student’s book bag was searched after it was reported that he was in possession of a weapon,” the station quoted Parker as saying.

The online meeting was for parents only, but WAVY-TV said the station received an opportunity from a parent to attend.

Neither the superintendent nor district spokeswoman Michelle Price returned multiple messages Friday from The Associated Press. Details of how they found out about the weapon and why it was not found before the shots were fired were not released. The police chief previously said the boy brought the gun to school in his bag.

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The teacher, Abigail Zwerner, 25, was shot in the chest and initially suffered life-threatening injuries. However, his condition improved and he was hospitalized.

Newport News School Board Chairwoman Lisa Surles-Lowe said Thursday that the district will install metal detectors at all schools, starting with Richneck.

The shooting occurred on January 6 when Zwerner was teaching his class. Authorities said there was no warning or struggle before the 6-year-old boy pointed a gun at Zwerner.

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Police Chief Steve Drew described the shooting as intentional. The court will decide the future fate of the child who is detained in a medical institution.

Drew said the boy used his mother’s legally purchased gun. It is not known how he got hold of the weapon. Virginia state law prohibits the discharge of firearms within the reach of children under the age of 14.


A previous version of this report misspelled Abigail Zwerner’s name.

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