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Crime News

Family Of 6-Year-Old Who Allegedly Shot Virginia Elementary Teacher Speaks Out

The family of the 6-year-old, who hasn’t been identified, insisted that the firearm their son used to shoot 25-year-old first-grade teacher Abigail Zwerner was “secured."

By Dorian Geiger
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The family of the 6-year-old boy who allegedly opened fire on a Virginia elementary school teacher earlier this month is speaking out about the disturbing incident for the first time.

The young Virginia student allegedly shot his first-grade teacher Abigail Zwerner at Richneck Elementary School on Jan. 9. Zwerner, who survived the shooting, is recovering. 

The child’s family, who haven’t been identified by law enforcement, addressed the school shooting in a statement through their lawyer James Ellenson on Thursday. In their statement, they said that the "firearm our son accessed was secured," People reported.

Ellenson insisted the family has been actively working investigators.

"Our family has always been committed to responsible gun ownership and keeping firearms out of the reach of children," the family wrote in the statement. "We have been cooperating with local and federal law enforcement to understand how this could have happened."

RELATED: Virginia Police Call Wounded Elementary School Teacher A Hero Who Saved Students

According to past reports, the child brought a 9-millimeter Taurus handgun from home and stashed the pistol in his backpack on the day of the shooting. He later pulled it out and allegedly opened fire on the first grade teacher, who was severely wounded in the shooting, having been struck in the chest by a round of ammunition, per The New York Times.

The 6-year-old’s mother reportedly purchased the firearm legally. 

The marquee at the entrance of Richneck Elementary School

No one has been charged in the shooting. However, Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew said charges were still "certainly a possibility," per CNN

In their recent statement, the family noted that the 6-year-old “suffers from an acute disability.” 

“[He] was under a care plan at the school that included his mother or father attending school with him and accompanying him to class every day,” the family’s statement added. “The week of the shooting was the first week when we were not in class with him. We will regret our absence on this day for the rest of our lives."

The family also said that their son is continuing to receive medical treatment at a local hospital. They praised Zwerner, and wished their son’s teacher a speedy recovery. 

"[Our] heart goes out to our son's teacher and we pray for her healing in the aftermath of such an unimaginable tragedy as she selflessly served our son and the children in the school,” they also said. "She has worked diligently and compassionately to support our family as we sought the best education and learning environment for our son."

The family statement comes after school district officials told The New York Times that an employee had received a tip about the boy having gun, after which they searched his backpack. They were unable to locate a weapon during the search, the outlet reported.

"At least one administrator was notified of a possible weapon,” the school superintendent told parents during a virtual town hall for parents, according to local news station WAVY-TV.

In the aftermath of the alarming school shooting, the 25-year-old educator was celebrated as a hero for ushering her children out of the classroom despite being struck by gunfire. Sixteen students were in the classroom at the time of the shooting.

Zwerner has since been released from hospital. Richneck Elementary School will remain closed next week, school officials said.

“[Zwerner] continues her recovery as an outpatient with the support of family, friends, and health professionals. The Zwerner family respectfully asks for privacy during this time," the Riverside Regional Medical Center told Norfolk, Virginia television station WTKR.