Virginia school official warned 6-yr-old boy had gun hours before he allegedly shot teacher

A Virginia Newport News school superintendent told parents that at least one official was tipped off that the 6-year-old boy who shot a teacher last week brought a 9mm gun to class but when his backpack was searched, nothing was found.

(Video Credit: NBC News)

School system Superintendent George Parker revealed the detail in an online town hall with parents Thursday night, according to the New York Post. The Richneck Elementary School official was not named.

“At least one administrator was notified of a possible weapon in the timeline that we’re reviewing and was aware that that student had — there was a potential that there was a weapon on campus,” the superintendent told parents during the meeting.

He verified the first grader’s backpack was searched, but no gun was found in it. Unfortunately, two-and-a-half hours after the search, the 6-year-old pulled out his mother’s 9mm Taurus handgun that he had snuck into the school and fired it during an argument with teacher Abigail Zwerner, shooting her. The teacher was left with “life-threatening injuries.”

Zwerner, 25, escorted all of her students out of the classroom after she was shot. She is in serious but stable condition currently.

It was previously thought the boy brought the gun to school in his backpack. That’s still a possibility since he could have removed it and hidden it. There are scant details concerning who told the administrator about the gun and why it wasn’t found and seized.

(Video Credit: WAVY TV 10)

The virtual town hall was only open to parents but WAVY-TV broadcasted it after a parent granted access to it.

Parker notified the parents that security measures will be ramped up, including metal detectors. The school will be equipped with a separation wall and doors to the second-grade hallway, a buzzer system, and a double entranceway. Clear plastic backpacks are also being considered for students.

Newport News School Board Chair Lisa Surles-Law made the announcement about the metal detectors at a press conference on Thursday. They will be installed at all local schools. The board was approved to purchase 90 walk-through metal detectors on Wednesday and has begun the process.

(Video Credit: NBC News)

According to 12 News Now, some schools will get multiple metal detectors. The cost was not disclosed.

Parker stated that there are already metal detectors at high schools and middle schools in the district. But not at elementary schools. Random searches conducted at higher grade levels will also be forthcoming in elementary schools in response to shootings.

Surles-Law said she was sorry the shooting happened “during their watch.”

“The time is now to put metal detectors in all of our schools,” she declared at a news conference.

The school has been shut down since the incident took place a week ago. Parents still don’t know if their children will be forced to go back to the classroom where the teacher was shot.

Surles-Law commented on Thursday that Zwerner’s condition was “improving every day.”

Police Chief Steve Drew noted that the shooting was “intentional.” A judge will now determine what will happen to the boy. He is reportedly being held at a medical facility following an emergency custody order.

(Video Credit: NBC News)

It is unknown at this point how the child got a hold of his mother’s gun. The BBC is reporting that police say it was legally purchased and stored in the home.

Virginia law prohibits leaving a loaded gun where it is accessible to a child under 14. It’s a misdemeanor punishable with a maximum one-year prison sentence and a $2,500 fine.


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